United Nations claims traffickers shot dead over 12 migrants trying to escape torture, abuse in Libya

Geneva: More than 12 migrants were shot dead by human traffickers last week while trying to escape a camp in Libya, where some were subjected to "torture and abuse", the United Nations said Friday.

The incident, previously reported by ‘Doctors Without Borders’ and local sources, occurred on 23 May, 2018 in the town of Bani Walid which is 170 kilometres southeast of Tripoli.

File photo of refugees.Reuters

File photo of refugees.Reuters

"Human traffickers in Libya reportedly killed more than a dozen people and wounded many others after a group of some 200 Eritreans, Ethiopians and Somalis — being held captive — attempted to escape," the UN refugee agency said in a statement, adding that those killed "were shot".

"The survivors spoke of torture, abuse, and exploitation at the hands of traffickers; Some being held in captivity for up to three years," the statement added.

Bani Walid is a transit point for migrants aiming to reach Europe by boat, from the coast further north.

Traffickers and kidnappers run around 20 detention centres in the town, telephoning the migrants' families to deliver ransom demands.

Since the 2011 fall and killing of longtime dictator Moammer Gaddafi, Libya has become a key launchpad for migrants making desperate bids to reach Europe.

"This latest deadly incident demonstrates, once again, the huge challenge of providing protection to refugees in Libya, where many people fleeing war and persecution fall prey to criminal networks," the UN Refugee Agency, or UNHCR further said.

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Updated Date: Jun 01, 2018 18:13:24 IST

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