By SAMY MAGDY, Related Press
ON BOARD THE GEO BARENTS IN THE MEDITERRANEAN SEA (AP) — A U.N. migration company official expressed issues Friday over the disappearance of hundreds of Europe-bound migrants who have been intercepted and returned to Libya as increasingly determined folks danger their lives making an attempt to cross the Mediterranean Sea to Europe.
In response to Safa Msehli, a spokeswoman for the Worldwide Group for Migration, the Libyan coast guard, which receives funds from the European Union, intercepted greater than 24,000 Europe-bound migrants within the Mediterranean to date this 12 months, together with over 800 this week alone.
Nonetheless, solely 6,000 have been accounted for in official detention facilities within the North African nation, she stated. The destiny and whereabouts of hundreds of different migrants stay unknown, she added.
“We concern that many are ending up within the palms of prison teams and traffickers, whereas others are being extorted for launch,” Msehli stated.
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A spokesman for Libya’s Inside Ministry, which oversees the detention facilities, didn’t instantly reply to a request by The Related Press for remark.
Libya has for years been a hub for African and Center Jap migrants fleeing warfare and poverty of their international locations and hoping for a greater life in Europe. The oil-rich nation plunged into chaos following a NATO-backed rebellion that toppled and killed longtime autocrat Moammar Gadhafi in 2011.
Traffickers have exploited the chaos and sometimes pack determined households into ill-equipped rubber or wood boats that stall and founder alongside the perilous Central Mediterranean route. Hundreds have drowned alongside the best way. They’ve been implicated in widespread abuses of migrants, together with torture and abduction for ransom.
The variety of migrants intercepted and returned to Libya to date this 12 months is greater than double the quantity for 2020, when greater than 11,890 have been introduced again to shore.
These returned to shore have been taken to government-run detention facilities, the place they’re typically abused and extorted for ransom underneath the very nostril of U.N. officers. They’re typically held in depressing situations. Libya’s authorities receives thousands and thousands in European support cash paid to sluggish the tide of migrants crossing the Mediterranean.
Guards have been accused of sexually assaulting feminine migrants in no less than one government-run detention middle. Many migrants additionally merely disappear from the detention facilities, offered to traffickers or to different facilities, The Related Press reported in 2019.
Greater than 1,100 migrants have been reported useless or presumed useless in quite a few boat mishaps and shipwrecks off Libya to date this 12 months, in comparison with no less than 978 reported useless or presumed useless throughout all of final 12 months, based on IOM.
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