Libya rescues more than 100 refugees

Libyan naval forces rescue more than 100 refugees trying to reach European coasts from Libya

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

People from sub-Saharan Africa at a centre for illegal migrants in the Libyan port city of Misrata.

Libyan naval forces have rescued more than 100 refugees who were trying to reach the Italian coast from Libya, authorities said on Monday.

"We reached the boat and the initial estimate is that there are 110 migrants, two of whom passed away and 108 were brought here to the Tripoli (port)," said Libyan Coast Guard official Ashraf al Badri

He also added that two of the rescued refugees were in serious condition.

Idris, one of the rescued refugees, said he traveled thousands of kilometres to reach Italy.

"We are trying to go to Italia (Italy) which happened yesterday on Sunday. Me and my whole crew, almost 100 plus. I cannot give you an accurate figure exactly but the only thing I know is 100 above… we have a breakdown of our engine."

Human rights groups say refugees pay thousands of dollars to smugglers who often beat and torture them to extort more money.

Libya has been struggling with chaos since 2011, after the riots that overthrew and resulted in the killing of Muammer Gaddafi, the North African country has turned into a transit route for refugees fleeing conflict and poverty to make it to Europe. Cross-border smuggling networks exploit the country's lawlessness and chaos to bring Syrians into Libya from Egypt or sub-Saharan refugees from neighbouring Niger, Sudan and Chad.

About 140,000 refugees have reached Italy this year by taking boats from Africa.


TRTWorld and agencies