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Shocking Video of Child Refugee Tortured in Libya

FILE - Screenshot of an AP video depicts a Child Refugee tortured in Libya, Sep 7, 2022. Video could not be verified.

A video showing a child Sudanese refugee in Libya being mistreated has spread on social media, drawing attention to the cruelty that migrants endure in the war-torn north African nation.

Cowering in a bare corner, the 15-year-old boy begs for mercy and holds his arms up while trying to fend off the rifle pointed at his face.

"Where is the money? Where is the money?" the holder of the rifle barks, over and over.

The unseen man pulls the trigger. "Click-click-click!" The magazine is empty, it seems.

The man wants to scare him, and it works. The boy flinches with each click.

"Where is the money? Where is the money?" the man keeps shouting, swatting the boy on the head with the rifle muzzle.

"I swear, I don't have," the boy cries.

The boy, Mazen Adam, a Sudanese refugee in Libya from the conflict-torn Darfur region, was kidnapped last week by unknown gunmen demanding ransom.

Tarig Lamloum, a Human rights researcher who specializes in illegal migration at the Belaady organization said the video has spread and show cases the torture of a Sudanese child who is an asylum seeker in Libya.

Lamloum further expresses that he is not shocked by the circulating video and adds, β€œit may be shocking to those who are not following the situation.”

The boy's father, Mohamed Adam, arrived in Libya with his four children in December 2017 after fleeing Sudan's Darfur and settled in Tripoli while awaiting an opportunity to reach Europe.

Adam and his children were registered with the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, as asylum-seekers, according to a registration document shared with the Associated Press.

Hours after the video depicting this scene spread on social media, the boy's father was taken by gunmen from his home in western Libya.

Their saga is all too common in the chaotic, war-torn Mediterranean country, where powerful militias and traffickers have for years taken advantage of the desperation of migrants fleeing wars and poverty while trying to reach Europe, however the abuse is rarely caught on-camera.

The video has underscored how abuses, torture, sexual violence and killings of migrants are rampant in Libya, where the European Union is using fragments of the broken-down state as an out-sourced policeman to block migrants from reaching its shores, trapping them there.

Libya has been in chaos since a NATO-backed uprising toppled and killed longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi in 2011.

The country has split into many factions, each supported by rogue militias and foreign governments.Without a functioning government for most of the past decade, the country became a hub for migrants.

A lucrative trafficking business has flourished and militias, most of which are on the government payroll, are involved at every stage. They sometimes receive payments from the smugglers who arrange the migrants' journeys.

Militias are part of the official state forces tasked with intercepting migrants at sea, including in the coast guard. They also run state detention centres, where abuses of migrants are common.

UN-commissioned investigators said last year such practices may amount to crimes against humanity.

The UN's refugee agency has warned that Libya "isn't a country of asylum, nor a place of safety."

No group claimed responsibility for the child's abduction nor his father's detention.

A spokesman for the Tripoli-based government did not answer phone calls or a message seeking comment.