Libya: 20 migrants found dead in the desert
The bodies of 20 migrants who got lost in the Libyan desert near Chad have been found, Libyan authorities announced on Wednesday. The group is believed to have died two weeks ago.
The bodies were discovered by a truck driver crossing the desert and were recovered on Tuesday (June 29) about 320 kilometers southwest of Kufra and 120 kilometers from the border with Chad, according to the news agency. Reuters.
“The driver [of the migrants] got lost…and we believe the group died in the desert about 14 days ago since the last call on a cellphone on June 13,” Kufra ambulance chief Ibrahim Belhasan said. . Reuters by telephone.
The ambulance service reportedly released photos of bodies lying around a black van on the sand. Two of the bodies are believed to be Libyans and the others are believed to be migrants from Chad who crossed into Libya, paramedics said.
The news platform Libya Observer posted a photo on Twitter, but did not specify the source of the photo.
Murderous crossing of the desert
Libya is a major transit country for migrants from sub-Saharan Africa, who often arrive in the country via the Sahara Desert and then attempt to reach Europe by crossing the Mediterranean Sea. The number of migrants who died trying to cross the Sahara Desert is believed to be even higher than the number of migrants who died crossing the Mediterranean, although exact data on this is scarce.
IOM’s Missing Migrants Project has recorded 5,386 deaths in the Sahara Desert since 2014, compared to 24,234 on all Mediterranean routes. However, a very large number of deaths in the desert probably went unrecorded.
Migrants transiting through the desert are often abandoned by smugglers or lose their tracks. They face dehydration, extreme temperatures, extortion and violence. They also generally lack functional means of communication and cannot call for help in time if they get lost.
The risks of the Saharan desert migration route are “both inherent to the desert and man-made”, the IOM said in a statement. Research dissertation 2020. They said “the risks posed by the inhospitable terrain of the desert are complicated and exacerbated by the instability and violence in the region, harmful smuggling practices and the securing of borders in the Sahel.”
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