Security and humanitarian situation is worsening in Libya

The security and humanitarian situation is worsening in Libya, with 426 persons having drowned attempting to cross the central Mediterranean route so far this year, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has said.

Joel Millman, spokesperson for IOM, told a press briefing here that so far this year, some 3,750 migrants have been returned to systematic and arbitrary detention, where they remain at risk as clashes continue to rage in Libya’s capital Tripoli.

An airstrike hit a detention center Tuesday in a suburb of the Libyan capital Tripoli, leaving 53 migrants dead and over 100 people injured.

Among those being killed were six children, IOM said, adding that at least 12 survivors with severe injuries have been referred to clinics by IOM doctors who remain on call to follow up on these cases.

The more than 600 migrants detained at this center represented at least 17 different nationalities, mainly African.

According to IOM staff on-site, as of Thursday, 350 migrants, among them 20 women and four children, remain in detention there.

IOM teams provided food and water to the people who were still traumatized by Tuesday’s attack, and will continue to assist them, Millman said.

Answering journalists’ questions, Millman said he could not confirm reports that guards had fired on migrants who had tried to flee the detention centre after the first strike.