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UN agency fears for Africans held by gang in Libya

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The United Nations migration agency said it was “deeply concerned” about some 260 Somali and Ethiopian refugees allegedly held and mistreated by criminal gangs in Libya, saying it believed a harrowing video of them posted on social media was authentic.

The International Organization for Migration noted the video posted June 9 on Facebook, in which it said many “abused Somalis and Ethiopians are seen huddled fearfully in a concrete room”.

The IOM said a Somali journalist based in Turkey recorded the video call from a gang in which some refugees claimed to have been beaten. Some alleged having their teeth pulled out and arms broken.

The agency said some captives’ relatives had received videos asking them to pay $8,000 to $10,000 “or their child or relative will be killed”. The relatives’ exact location was not known, but the IOM said “the relevant authorities in this situation have been informed”.