The municipal council of the southwestern city of Sabha on Friday expressed its discontent and shock at the recent media reports on slave markets targeting migrants in the Libyan city.
The council rejected the stories based on a report issued Tuesday by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), saying there was no evidence to support the allegations, according to a statement published by the Libyan Unity Government-affiliated Libyan News Agency.
The statement said that the IOM had relied on just the words of a small group of migrants seeking humanitarian asylum to make such "false" allegations, which would "distort the image of Libya and its people".
On Tuesday, IOM denounced the existence of real "slave markets" in Libya, where it said migrants were sold for between $200 and $500.
The IOM said in a statement that its employees in Libya and Niger were able to collect "shocking" witnesses of migrants who spoke about the existence of "slave markets" where hundreds of men and women were sold in public squares or warehouses.
According to the IOM, "Sub-Saharan migrants were being sold and bought by Libyans, with the support of Ghanaians and Nigerians who work for them," as reported by its Niger staff.
Libya has been wracked by turmoil since 2011, when Gaddafi was ousted and killed in a bloody revolt after 42 years in power.
In the wake of the uprising, the country’s stark political divisions yielded two rival seats of government -- one in Tobruk and the other in Tripoli -- along with a host of competing militia groups.