By Nathan Morley
The government in Libya confirmed that the family of a slain Libyan human trafficker attacked a group of migrants in a town that recently changed hands amid the fighting over the country’s capital, killing 30 people.
According to reports, the migrants had killed a local trafficker an action which prompted his family to take revenge and kill the 26 Bangladeshis and 4 Africans.
Although details remain sketchy, the UN migration agency said the migrants were shot in a warehouse in Mizdah, near Tripoli. An arrest warrant for the suspected attackers has been issued and police are on alert.
The murders highlight the desperate situation migrant’s face in Libya, where violence and lawlessness have created a haven for smugglers to conduct their business.
The Libya route has become notorious for its barbarity. Desperate migrants fleeing poverty and war in Africa and the Middle East often pass through Libya on their way to Europe, where they set-off in cheap inflatable dinghies or boats, which are often unseaworthy.
The UN says the number of people fleeing Libya’s brutal conflict has spiked in the last month. Nearly 700 migrants were stopped and returned to detention facilities by coastguard over the last seven days.
There are other problems too. Last week UNICEF and WHO said vaccine shortages in Libya were putting more than a quarter of a million children at severe risk. In a joint press release, they say situation is made worse by the continued armed conflict and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Due to the pandemic, access to immunization services have been disrupted since March – a situation that has led to an increased risk of a resurgence of measles and polio.