Middle East & Africa
Jun 22nd 2013 edition
Libya’s ghost town
When bygones aren’t
The people of two rival towns seem determined to hate each other for ever
Jun 22nd 2013
THE 40,000 people from Tawergha, a dusty town set back half an hour’s drive from Libya’s Mediterranean coast, have few bags to pack. For two years most of them, nearly all black-skinned, have camped on building sites strewn across Libyan cities, since the Arabs who ousted Colonel Muammar Qaddafi drove them out as punishment for supporting him. But if, as the Tawerghans promise, they really head home on June 25th, few are confident they will survive, let alone prosper.
For the militiamen of the neighbouring city of Misrata, who were responsible for evicting the Tawerghans, man checkpoints all the way from the deserted town to Tripoli, Libya’s capital to the north-west, and have vowed to block their return. The Misratans have reduced Tawergha to a caked-earth ghost town, plundering its houses, shooting up its hospitals and schools, and smashing its utilities.
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