Shooting in Libya detention centre after migrant raids

File photo
File photo

Tripoli - At least five migrants were killed and many others escaped from a detention centre in Tripoli

By Reuters

Published: Fri 8 Oct 2021, 10:19 PM

At least five migrants were shot dead at a Tripoli detention centre on Friday, the head of the UN migration agency’s Libya mission said, as many migrants were reported to have escaped the centre and others gathered in the streets nearby.

Libyan security forces have detained more than 5,000 migrants, refugees and asylum seekers mostly from Sub-Saharan Africa in a crackdown over the past week, housing them in crowded, unsanitary detention centres, the United Nations refugee agency UNHCR has said.

IOM Libya mission head Federico Soda said the overcrowding at Ghot Shaal detention centre had led to chaos there, with people sleeping in the open and different security forces present.

“Shooting started,” he said, adding that at least five people were killed.

Numerous videos posted on social media, which Reuters could not immediately authenticate, showed dozens of people pouring through a gap in a fence, and larger numbers marching through Tripoli streets.

Two Tripoli residents said they had seen large numbers of migrants running through the streets in that area.

A Reuters journalist later saw dozens of migrants sitting on the floor surrounded by guards and said there was a very heavy security presence around the area and there had been sporadic sounds of shooting.

The United Nations refugee agency said earlier on Friday it was increasingly alarmed about the situation for migrants and refugees in Libya after more than 5,000 were arrested in the recent crackdown.

“The raids, which also involved the demolition of many unfinished buildings and makeshift houses, have created widespread panic and fear among asylum seekers and refugees in the capital,” it said in a statement.

On Monday UN investigators said abuses against migrants and refugees in Libya were “on a widespread scale... with a high level of organisation and with the encouragement of the state... suggestive of crimes against humanity”.

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