Who are Libya's sub-Saharan Africans?
Libya's sub-Saharan African population has gotten a lot of attention. They're not all mercenaries and they aren't just from one or two places.
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This list offers a basic (though still speculative and incomplete) look at the sub-Saharan African population in Libya. Even though many of the numbers are estimates (some perhaps wildly off the mark), the size and diversity of the sub-Saharan African community in Libya is clear: it includes people from many different nations and people who came for various reasons (work, study, and asylum, seemingly in that order according to the numbers). So writers, including me, need to talk about the “African” experience in Libya with great care – and it seems better to talk about experiences, plural.Skip to next paragraph
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As for numbers of mercenaries, both the BBC and AFP cite sources claiming the number of Tuareg mercenaries in Libya is in the hundreds. I have not yet seen a definitive estimate of the total number of mercenaries in the country.