March 30, 2023

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Libya: 15 bodies of migrants, some burned, found on shore

#In other countries : The Libyan Red Cross said on Friday that 15 bodies, some of them charred, had been found on the beach in the western Libyan city of Sabrada, which human rights activists said were of illegal immigrants.

After being alerted by local authorities to the discovery of the bodies, volunteers from the Red Cross branch in Sabrada, 70 km west of the capital Tripoli, rushed to the scene and transported the remains to the city hospital mortuary. The organization said in a statement.

Some of the bodies were inside the burning boat, while others were left nearby, according to the same source, in a charred condition.

The Red Cross did not specify the identity of the victims or the cause of their death, but human rights activists said on social networks that they were illegal immigrants.

Passengers on the boat, mostly African, were killed Thursday night in a shootout following an argument between the smugglers, local media reported.

A feuding gang of smugglers set the boat on fire on Friday, the same sources said. Pictures showing thick black smoke billowing from the damaged boat were circulated on social media.

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Officials could not immediately confirm this information.

The chaos that followed the fall of Muammar Gaddafi’s regime in 2011 turned Libya into a preferred route for tens of thousands of migrants from sub-Saharan Africa, the Arab world and South Asia to reach Europe via Italian shores.

These migrants fall prey to smugglers who do not die while attempting the perilous crossing of the Mediterranean, and Libya continues to be singled out by NGOs for their ill-treatment.

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Since March, two governments backed by two rival camps have been vying for power in western and eastern Libya.

Since the beginning of the year, 14,157 migrants have been detained and returned to Libya, according to a report by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) released on Monday. According to the IOM, at least 216 people tried to cross and 724 people are missing and presumed dead.