The United Nations (UN) has disclosed that more than 12 African migrants were shot dead by human traffickers while attempting to escape a camp in Libya, where some were subjected to “torture” and “abuse and exploitation”.
“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 (UNHCR) said on Friday 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.
It was gathered that the incident, which occurred on May 23, took place in Bani Walid, approximately 180 km (110 miles) southeast of the capital Tripoli, which is a transit point for migrants trying to reach Europe.
People traffickers and kidnappers run around 20 detention centers in the town, telephoning the migrants’ families to deliver ransom demands.
Since the 2011 fall and killing of longtime dictator Muammar Qaddafi, 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,” UNHCR said.