Burkina Faso has recalled its ambassador to Libya following reports that black African migrants were being auctioned as slaves there, Reuters reports.

Burkina Faso’s Foreign Minister Alpha Barry announced the decision by President Roch Marc Kabore in a Monday news conference.

“The President of Burkina Faso has decided to recall the ambassador to Tripoli, General Abraham Traore, for a consultation,” Barry said during a news conference.

He added that he had also “summoned the Libyan charge d‘affairs in Burkina Faso’s capital Ouagadougou to express our indignation at these images that belong to other centuries, images of the slave trade”.

The move followed a broadcast by CNN of footage which it claimed showed an auction of men offered to Libyan buyers as farmhands and sold for $400, a grim reminder of the trans-Saharan slave trade hundreds of years ago.

Next week African and European leaders will meet in the Ivory Coast capital Abidjan to discuss migration and European efforts to deal with the matter in cooperation with Libya.

The North African country has long been a point of departure for tens of thousands of desperate refugees trying to reach Europe in search of a better life.

Hundreds have drowned after paying human smugglers to ferry them across the Mediterranean in unseaworthy boats. Thousands more have been rescued by the Italian coast guard.

In a bid to stem the tide of refugees, the Italian and Libyan coast guards have joined efforts to prevent the refugees from reaching Europe.

This has included physically intervening in humanitarian ships trying to rescue refugees in boats before transporting them to Europe.

There have been repeated reports by human rights organisations and the United Nations about the mistreatment of African refugees in Libyan detention centres.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra‘ad Al Hussein explained last month that the European and African deal to stem the flow of migrants coming through Libya to Europe had failed to tackle the severe abuses they face, including rape, torture and beatings.

A study of mixed refugee and migrant flows by the UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, found that around half of those travelling to Libya do so believing they can find jobs there, but end up fleeing onwards to Europe to escape life-threatening insecurity, instability, difficult economic conditions plus widespread exploitation and abuse.

- African News Agency (ANA)