The United Nations Refugee Agency has revealed that more than 12 refugees were killed in Bani Walid in Libya on May 23 in the southeast of the country’s capital Tripoli.
Human traffickers reportedly killed more than a dozen people and wounded many others after a group of some 200 Eritreans, Ethiopians and Somalis, being held captive, attempted to escape.
“The UNHCR believes that many refugees and migrants may still be hiding or in captivity in or near Bani Walid. This latest deadly incident demonstrates, once again, the huge challenge of providing protection to refugees in Libya, where many people fleeing war and persecution fall prey to criminal networks who exploit and abuse them or later often perish at sea while searching for safety in Europe,” said William Spindler, the spokesperson for the international organisation.
According to the survivors, people were shot during attempts to recapture them and they also spoke of torture, abuse and exploitation at the hands of traffickers.
Libya has often been accused of subjecting migrants and refugees to horrific abuses with reports from different sources indicating the existence of “open slave markets” where migrants are put on sale.