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Refugees of Tawergha
Tripoli, Libya
By Mustafa Fetouri
18 Apr 2016

Tawergha is a Libyan coastal town about 300 km west of the capital Tripoli. It used to be home to nearly 40 thousand people. After Muammar Gaddafi was toppled, thanks to the help of NATO, the militias of nearby Misrata (40 km west of Tawergha) forced the entire population of Tawergha out and completely destroyed the town.

Tawerghans are Libyan Sunni Muslims just like the rest of the population however they are black. The Misrata militias accused them of fighting for the Gaddafi regime. Since 2011 not a single Tawerghan has returned home. For the last five years they have been living in makeshift camps scattered around Libya. Four such camps, home to nearly 4000 people, are around Tripoli. These photos are of the airport road camp, home to more than 2000 men, women, & children.

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Refugees of Tawergha 01
Tripoli, Libya
By Mustafa Fetouri
24 Jan 2016

In this living room women try to produce little home decorations, from discarded material, for sale to camp visitors, to help their families.

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Refugees of Tawergha 02
Tripoli, Libya
By Mustafa Fetouri
24 Jan 2016

A narrow alley leading into the western part of the camp. Makeshift homes are on both sides of the alley.

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Refugees of Tawergha 03
Tripoli, Libya
By Mustafa Fetouri
24 Jan 2016

Two school age girls pausing for the camera. They are lucky as they can attend the small newly opened make shift school instead of leaving the camp for another school.

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Refugees of Tawergha 05
Tripoli, Libya
By Mustafa Fetouri
24 Jan 2016

Mr. Mabruk Eswasi founder and director of AL-Saber (Patience) charity at his office with his assistant Aida. He founded the charity to keep people together and help them after they were forced to flee their homes in Tawergha. He says not a single government department since 2011 has offered us any help.

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Refugees of Tawergha 06
Tripoli, Libya
By Mustafa Fetouri
24 Jan 2016

Makeshift storage room and laundry room for the camp residents. All supplies are kept here prior to distribution.

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Refugees of Tawergha 07
Tripoli, Libya
By Mustafa Fetouri
24 Jan 2016

Young children showing the V sign to my camera. Some appeared happy with my visit.

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Refugees of Tawergha 08
Tripoli, Libya
By Mustafa Fetouri
22 Jan 2016

A makeshift play ground for children, but Tripoli’s bitter cold during my visit left the place empty.

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Refugees of Tawergha 09
Tripoli, Libya
By Mustafa Fetouri
22 Jan 2016

The western entrance, the main entry to the makeshift airport road camp, 10 km south of Tripoli, Libya.

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Refugees of Tawergha 10
Tripoli, Libya
By Mustafa Fetouri
22 Jan 2016

A group of old Twareghan men gathered around a small fire to keep warm in the only “events hall” as they call it. They receive visitors here, watch TV, and organize events for refugees such as birthday parties, weddings, and even circumcision parties. They treated me to a round of Libyan green tea and chatted about their future with little hope of any return home to Tawergha.

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Tawerghans Face Challenges in IDP Cam...
Tawergha, Libya
By Transterra Editor
09 Apr 2014

In August 11th, 2011, habitants of Tawergha were forced to leave their town by Misrata rebel groups. They were accused of supporting Libyan forces of killed President Muammar Gaddafi during the two months long siege of Misrata.

Tawergha lies south of Misrata between this town and Gaddafi's stronghold town of Sirte. Gaddafi's forces used Tawergha as a base to besiege Misrata during the war, back in 2011.

Many of the around 30,000 inhabitants of Tawergha had to leave the town walking miles and miles through the desert and are now spread across the country. To this day, Tawergha remains a ghost town and it is reportedly being destroyed by militias of Misrata in order to prevent any future return of its inhabitants. The Libyan government is not able to guarantee safe return for the refugees, nor to protect the city.

In Libyan capital, Tripoli, there are up to four IDP camps for Tawerghans. The camp we visited, Tariq al Matar (Airport road) lies on the highway connecting the city and the airport in an old fabric. Access to the camp is through a dirt road of about 200 meters.

Tariq al Matar hosts around 300 families and a total of 1500 people. Most families use to live in a single room of about 3 x 3 meters. Residents say that water is not healthy, they do not have access to hot water and face attacks from militias for the simple fact of being from Tawergha. They say they are abused by Libyans outside the camp and have no protection from authorities.

A majority of city inhabitants are black-skinned, a rare fact in coastal Libya. This is due to the slavery origins of the habitants, which were once working on the palm trees.

TRANSCRIPT/LISTING OF SCENES:

1- Dirt road, only way to access the camp.

2-General view

3-Entrance to the camp. (Revolutioners of Tawergha can be read)

4- Mabrouk Mohammed, one of the coordinators of the camp

5- Mabrouk in the camp's office

6- He shows videos of the day Tawerghans were expelled from their town.

7- Another video

8- Mabrouk - "Misrata does not want us to return until there is a law that compensates them. They say that there are women who were raped by Tawergha. They want to investigate us and apply justice. They are asking the Libyan government not to allow us back until those guilty go to tribunals and are sentenced."

9- We are sure that some people (from Tawergha) did bad things. We are not all guilty for that. People from Tawergha have met with people from Misrata to solve the problem. We apologized to the families of Misrata. The meetings were good, but there is no answer from their side. They are waiting for the government to decide, but the government is not strong.

10- Street of the camp

11- Street

12-Street at the edge of the camp

13- Mabrouk explains the problems with the water

14- Housing unit for several families. Tawergha can be read.

15- Showers inside the unit. No Machines, no hot water

16- Toilets and water tank

17- Corridor. Each door, one family

18- One of the rooms. Up to 9 people in some of them

19- They received aid when they moved, but now, no.

20- Old man with an ill wife in their room

21- This family built a second room with a kitchen.

22- "The camp is not protected. Militias make problems for us. They killed people here. They arrested people here who did nothing. Militias come and say Tawergha, Tawergha! and take three or four people."

23- Clothes hanging to dry

24- Libyan flag

25- A family builds a new room

26- Kid carries concrete to his father

27- Mahmud: "We are building a room because the one we have is not enough for the whole family. We are seven and as you know we have young and old children, and we can't stay in a single room"

28- Mahmud working.

29- Inside the camp

30- Entrance to the mosque

31, 32, 33- Inside the mosque

34- Call for prayer

35- Man walks home after prayer.

36- Khamis Salem Ibrahim: "On October 12th, my sons were at home and a militia from Misrata came. They stormed the house and took three people. I don't know what happened with one of them, Salem is at home and Ibrahim is at the Wahda Institute."

37- Khamis in the camp.

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Taouergas: Damned Souls of the Libyan...
Taouerga, Libya
By Melanie Wenger
28 Sep 2012

The city of Taouerga is now a ghost city hanted by Misrati militias. All burned and robbed, only some walls are still standing, showing the testimony of hatred. Called now the New Misrata, the city is not easy to access, totally controlled, and no journalist is allowed.

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Taouergas: Damned Souls of the Libyan...
Taouerga, Libya
By Melanie Wenger
28 Sep 2012

The city of Taouerga is now a ghost city hanted by Misrati militias. All burned and robbed, only some walls are still standing, showing the testimony of hatred. Called now the New Misrata, the city is not easy to access, totally controlled, and no journalist is allowed.

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Tawergha Destroyed (2-24)
Tawergha, Misrata, Libya
By Karim Mostafa
26 Feb 2012

2011 meant big changes for Libya. After forty years in power, former dictator Muammar Gaddafi was ousted from power. But it took an ugly war, and Libyans are now facing the challenge of rebuilding and unifying their country. Among those suffering the consequences are the population of Tawergha, a coastal city of 30,000 inhabitants. During the war, many Tawerghans fought alongside Gaddafi’s forces. Many men were part of laying siege on the neighbouring Misrata, a city that suffered heavily during the months of fighting. When the war was nearing its end, Tawergha was captured by rebel groups from Misrata, who expelled the population and destroyed the houses. The inhabitants were forced to flee; today, many men are imprisoned while women, children and others are dispersed in refugee camps across the country. What will happen to them? The Tawerghans want to return to their homes, but the rebels guarding the city say that they can never come back.

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Tawergha Houses Looted (3-24)
Tawergha, Misrata, Libya
By Karim Mostafa
26 Feb 2012

2011 meant big changes for Libya. After forty years in power, former dictator Muammar Gaddafi was ousted from power. But it took an ugly war, and Libyans are now facing the challenge of rebuilding and unifying their country. Among those suffering the consequences are the population of Tawergha, a coastal city of 30,000 inhabitants. During the war, many Tawerghans fought alongside Gaddafi’s forces. Many men were part of laying siege on the neighbouring Misrata, a city that suffered heavily during the months of fighting. When the war was nearing its end, Tawergha was captured by rebel groups from Misrata, who expelled the population and destroyed the houses. The inhabitants were forced to flee; today, many men are imprisoned while women, children and others are dispersed in refugee camps across the country. What will happen to them? The Tawerghans want to return to their homes, but the rebels guarding the city say that they can never come back.

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Rebel In Destroyed House Misrata (24-24)
Misrata, Tawergha, Libya
By Karim Mostafa
23 Feb 2012

2011 meant big changes for Libya. After forty years in power, former dictator Muammar Gaddafi was ousted from power. But it took an ugly war, and Libyans are now facing the challenge of rebuilding and unifying their country. Among those suffering the consequences are the population of Tawergha, a coastal city of 30,000 inhabitants. During the war, many Tawerghans fought alongside Gaddafi’s forces. Many men were part of laying siege on the neighbouring Misrata, a city that suffered heavily during the months of fighting. When the war was nearing its end, Tawergha was captured by rebel groups from Misrata, who expelled the population and destroyed the houses. The inhabitants were forced to flee; today, many men are imprisoned while women, children and others are dispersed in refugee camps across the country. What will happen to them? The Tawerghans want to return to their homes, but the rebels guarding the city say that they can never come back.

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Wounded Prisoners (22-24)
Misrata, Libya
By Karim Mostafa
23 Feb 2012

2011 meant big changes for Libya. After forty years in power, former dictator Muammar Gaddafi was ousted from power. But it took an ugly war, and Libyans are now facing the challenge of rebuilding and unifying their country. Among those suffering the consequences are the population of Tawergha, a coastal city of 30,000 inhabitants. During the war, many Tawerghans fought alongside Gaddafi’s forces. Many men were part of laying siege on the neighbouring Misrata, a city that suffered heavily during the months of fighting. When the war was nearing its end, Tawergha was captured by rebel groups from Misrata, who expelled the population and destroyed the houses. The inhabitants were forced to flee; today, many men are imprisoned while women, children and others are dispersed in refugee camps across the country. What will happen to them? The Tawerghans want to return to their homes, but the rebels guarding the city say that they can never come back.

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Wounded Prisoner (23-24)
Misrata, Tawergha, Libya
By Karim Mostafa
23 Feb 2012

2011 meant big changes for Libya. After forty years in power, former dictator Muammar Gaddafi was ousted from power. But it took an ugly war, and Libyans are now facing the challenge of rebuilding and unifying their country. Among those suffering the consequences are the population of Tawergha, a coastal city of 30,000 inhabitants. During the war, many Tawerghans fought alongside Gaddafi’s forces. Many men were part of laying siege on the neighbouring Misrata, a city that suffered heavily during the months of fighting. When the war was nearing its end, Tawergha was captured by rebel groups from Misrata, who expelled the population and destroyed the houses. The inhabitants were forced to flee; today, many men are imprisoned while women, children and others are dispersed in refugee camps across the country. What will happen to them? The Tawerghans want to return to their homes, but the rebels guarding the city say that they can never come back.

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Detained Milad Mohammad Yousef From T...
Misrata, Libyen
By Karim Mostafa
23 Feb 2012

2011 meant big changes for Libya. After forty years in power, former dictator Muammar Gaddafi was ousted from power. But it took an ugly war, and Libyans are now facing the challenge of rebuilding and unifying their country. Among those suffering the consequences are the population of Tawergha, a coastal city of 30,000 inhabitants. During the war, many Tawerghans fought alongside Gaddafi’s forces. Many men were part of laying siege on the neighbouring Misrata, a city that suffered heavily during the months of fighting. When the war was nearing its end, Tawergha was captured by rebel groups from Misrata, who expelled the population and destroyed the houses. The inhabitants were forced to flee; today, many men are imprisoned while women, children and others are dispersed in refugee camps across the country. What will happen to them? The Tawerghans want to return to their homes, but the rebels guarding the city say that they can never come back.

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Refugee Mizna Muhammad And Daughter (...
Bengahzi, Libya
By Karim Mostafa
21 Feb 2012

2011 meant big changes for Libya. After forty years in power, former dictator Muammar Gaddafi was ousted from power. But it took an ugly war, and Libyans are now facing the challenge of rebuilding and unifying their country. Among those suffering the consequences are the population of Tawergha, a coastal city of 30,000 inhabitants. During the war, many Tawerghans fought alongside Gaddafi’s forces. Many men were part of laying siege on the neighbouring Misrata, a city that suffered heavily during the months of fighting. When the war was nearing its end, Tawergha was captured by rebel groups from Misrata, who expelled the population and destroyed the houses. The inhabitants were forced to flee; today, many men are imprisoned while women, children and others are dispersed in refugee camps across the country. What will happen to them? The Tawerghans want to return to their homes, but the rebels guarding the city say that they can never come back.

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Intisar Mohammad Camp Security (16-24)
Benghazi ,Libya
By Karim Mostafa
20 Feb 2012

2011 meant big changes for Libya. After forty years in power, former dictator Muammar Gaddafi was ousted from power. But it took an ugly war, and Libyans are now facing the challenge of rebuilding and unifying their country. Among those suffering the consequences are the population of Tawergha, a coastal city of 30,000 inhabitants. During the war, many Tawerghans fought alongside Gaddafi’s forces. Many men were part of laying siege on the neighbouring Misrata, a city that suffered heavily during the months of fighting. When the war was nearing its end, Tawergha was captured by rebel groups from Misrata, who expelled the population and destroyed the houses. The inhabitants were forced to flee; today, many men are imprisoned while women, children and others are dispersed in refugee camps across the country. What will happen to them? The Tawerghans want to return to their homes, but the rebels guarding the city say that they can never come back.

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Children Going To Class (14-24)
Benghazi, Libya
By Karim Mostafa
20 Feb 2012

2011 meant big changes for Libya. After forty years in power, former dictator Muammar Gaddafi was ousted from power. But it took an ugly war, and Libyans are now facing the challenge of rebuilding and unifying their country. Among those suffering the consequences are the population of Tawergha, a coastal city of 30,000 inhabitants. During the war, many Tawerghans fought alongside Gaddafi’s forces. Many men were part of laying siege on the neighbouring Misrata, a city that suffered heavily during the months of fighting. When the war was nearing its end, Tawergha was captured by rebel groups from Misrata, who expelled the population and destroyed the houses. The inhabitants were forced to flee; today, many men are imprisoned while women, children and others are dispersed in refugee camps across the country. What will happen to them? The Tawerghans want to return to their homes, but the rebels guarding the city say that they can never come back.

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Lonely Boy (15-24)
Benghazi, Libya
By Karim Mostafa
20 Feb 2012

2011 meant big changes for Libya. After forty years in power, former dictator Muammar Gaddafi was ousted from power. But it took an ugly war, and Libyans are now facing the challenge of rebuilding and unifying their country. Among those suffering the consequences are the population of Tawergha, a coastal city of 30,000 inhabitants. During the war, many Tawerghans fought alongside Gaddafi’s forces. Many men were part of laying siege on the neighbouring Misrata, a city that suffered heavily during the months of fighting. When the war was nearing its end, Tawergha was captured by rebel groups from Misrata, who expelled the population and destroyed the houses. The inhabitants were forced to flee; today, many men are imprisoned while women, children and others are dispersed in refugee camps across the country. What will happen to them? The Tawerghans want to return to their homes, but the rebels guarding the city say that they can never come back.

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Camp School (12-24)
Benghazi, Libya
By Karim Mostafa
20 Feb 2012

2011 meant big changes for Libya. After forty years in power, former dictator Muammar Gaddafi was ousted from power. But it took an ugly war, and Libyans are now facing the challenge of rebuilding and unifying their country. Among those suffering the consequences are the population of Tawergha, a coastal city of 30,000 inhabitants. During the war, many Tawerghans fought alongside Gaddafi’s forces. Many men were part of laying siege on the neighbouring Misrata, a city that suffered heavily during the months of fighting. When the war was nearing its end, Tawergha was captured by rebel groups from Misrata, who expelled the population and destroyed the houses. The inhabitants were forced to flee; today, many men are imprisoned while women, children and others are dispersed in refugee camps across the country. What will happen to them? The Tawerghans want to return to their homes, but the rebels guarding the city say that they can never come back.

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Children In School (13-24)
Benghazi, Libya
By Karim Mostafa
20 Feb 2012

2011 meant big changes for Libya. After forty years in power, former dictator Muammar Gaddafi was ousted from power. But it took an ugly war, and Libyans are now facing the challenge of rebuilding and unifying their country. Among those suffering the consequences are the population of Tawergha, a coastal city of 30,000 inhabitants. During the war, many Tawerghans fought alongside Gaddafi’s forces. Many men were part of laying siege on the neighbouring Misrata, a city that suffered heavily during the months of fighting. When the war was nearing its end, Tawergha was captured by rebel groups from Misrata, who expelled the population and destroyed the houses. The inhabitants were forced to flee; today, many men are imprisoned while women, children and others are dispersed in refugee camps across the country. What will happen to them? The Tawerghans want to return to their homes, but the rebels guarding the city say that they can never come back.

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Camp Street View (8-24)
Benghazi, Libya
By Karim Mostafa
19 Feb 2012

2011 meant big changes for Libya. After forty years in power, former dictator Muammar Gaddafi was ousted from power. But it took an ugly war, and Libyans are now facing the challenge of rebuilding and unifying their country. Among those suffering the consequences are the population of Tawergha, a coastal city of 30,000 inhabitants. During the war, many Tawerghans fought alongside Gaddafi’s forces. Many men were part of laying siege on the neighbouring Misrata, a city that suffered heavily during the months of fighting. When the war was nearing its end, Tawergha was captured by rebel groups from Misrata, who expelled the population and destroyed the houses. The inhabitants were forced to flee; today, many men are imprisoned while women, children and others are dispersed in refugee camps across the country. What will happen to them? Th Tawerghans want to return to their homes, but the rebels guarding the city say that they can never come back.

The kids are passing their days in th...
Benghazi, Libya
By Karim Mostafa
19 Feb 2012

2011 meant big changes for Libya. After forty years in power, former dictator Muammar Gaddafi was ousted from power. But it took an ugly war, and Libyans are now facing the challenge of rebuilding and unifying their country. Among those suffering the consequences are the population of Tawergha, a coastal city of 30,000 inhabitants. During the war, many Tawerghans fought alongside Gaddafi’s forces. Many men were part of laying siege on the neighbouring Misrata, a city that suffered heavily during the months of fighting. When the war was nearing its end, Tawergha was captured by rebel groups from Misrata, who expelled the population and destroyed the houses. The inhabitants were forced to flee; today, many men are imprisoned while women, children and others are dispersed in refugee camps across the country. What will happen to them? The Tawerghans want to return to their homes, but the rebels guarding the city say that they can never come back.

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View From Refugee Camp (7-24)
Benghazi, Libya
By Karim Mostafa
19 Feb 2012

2011 meant big changes for Libya. After forty years in power, former dictator Muammar Gaddafi was ousted from power. But it took an ugly war, and Libyans are now facing the challenge of rebuilding and unifying their country. Among those suffering the consequences are the population of Tawergha, a coastal city of 30,000 inhabitants. During the war, many Tawerghans fought alongside Gaddafi’s forces. Many men were part of laying siege on the neighbouring Misrata, a city that suffered heavily during the months of fighting. When the war was nearing its end, Tawergha was captured by rebel groups from Misrata, who expelled the population and destroyed the houses. The inhabitants were forced to flee; today, many men are imprisoned while women, children and others are dispersed in refugee camps across the country. What will happen to them? The Tawerghans want to return to their homes, but the rebels guarding the city say that they can never come back.