Alex Owumi: I played basketball for Gaddafi

When US basketball player Alex Owumi signed a contract to play for a team in Benghazi, Libya, he had no idea that his employer was the the most feared man in the country. Nor did he guess the country was about to descend into war. Here he tells his story, parts of which some readers may find distressing.

It was a beautiful flat. Everything was state of the art and it was spacious, too. It had two big living rooms, three big bedrooms, flat screens everywhere. The couches had gold trim and were so big and heavy they were impossible to move. The door to the apartment was reinforced steel, like on a bank vault.

It was 27 December 2010 and I had just arrived in Benghazi, Libya’s second biggest city, to play basketball for a team called Al-Nasr Benghazi. I had stayed in some nice places playing for teams in Europe, but this seventh-floor apartment in the middle of town was something else. It was like the Taj Mahal.

I didn’t immediately notice the photographs dotted around the place – of Libyan leader Col Muammar Gaddafi and his grandchildren.

When I did, I phoned the team president – we called him Mr Ahmed – and he told me how it was. “The apartment belongs to Mutassim Gaddafi, the Colonel’s son,” he said. “Al-Nasr is the Gaddafi club. You are playing for the Gaddafi family.”

Gaddafi! When I was a young kid growing up in Africa – I was born in Nigeria – Gaddafi was someone we all looked up to. He was always on the news and in the paper, helping out countries like Niger and Nigeria. I thought of him as one of the faces of Africa – him and Nelson Mandela. As a kid I wasn’t really aware of any of the bad things he was doing. Maybe I was too busy playing sports.

Read on here: BBC News – Alex Owumi: I played basketball for Gaddafi

This is his book. Look at the reviews.…=gaddafi+owumi

I really think someone should approach him for dawa.

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