Fifteen migrants from African states have been shot dead and more than 25 are injured when they tried to escape from a secret camp run by human traffickers in the western Libyan town of Bani Walid.
According to Doctors Without Borders (MSF) more than 100 migrants escaped from the camp after a long time in captivity last Wednesday, and were shot on after the traffickers tried to capture them.
The migrants from Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia fled on Wednesday night to a mosque in the town where they were taken in by local associations and residents.
The local hospital in the town of Bani Walid received more than 20 injured migrants with serious gunshots wounds.
The hospital head Essa al-Sadeq said to al-Arabiya.net that “necessary aid has been provided” confirming that their wounds vary between minor and very serious.
Many escape have been held captive by traffickers for up to three years
Some of those who escaped, mostly adolescents, told MSF rescue workers that they had been held by people traffickers for up to three years.
“This is another example of the ongoing horrors suffered by many migrants and refugees while transiting through Libya,” said MSF. “Kidnapping for ransom remains a thriving business,” they added.
Bani Walid, 170 kilometres (110 miles) southeast of the Libyan capital Tripoli, is a transit point for migrants aiming to reach Europe by boat from the coast further north.
Human 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 Muammar Gaddafi, Libya has become a key launchpad for migrants making desperate bids to reach Europe.
The conflict-riven country is regularly singled out for the exploitation and ill-treatment of migrants from sub-Saharan Africa.
- With AFP.