Welcome to Africanews

Please select your experience

Watch Live



New accusation of “life-threatening” intervention by Libyan coast guards

Migrants are rescued by a MSF (Medecins Sans Frontiers) rescue team boat, after leaving Libya trying to reach European soil, in the Mediterranean Sea, Friday, Oct. 6, 2023.   -  
Copyright © africanews
Paolo Santalucia/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved


The German charity SOS Humanity accuses the Libyan coast guard of using violence and firing live bullets into the water during its “intervention” on Saturday (Mar.4).

The NGO said that many migrants who were aboard three unseaworthy boats bound for Europe were forced to jump into the water.

The Humanity 1 crew managed to rescue 77 migrants, but many others were forced on board a Libyan coast guard boat, “separating at least six family members from each other,” it said.

At least one migrant drowned, it added.

SOS Humanity says it lived through a “life-threatening intervention”.

Since 2015, the European Union has been funding the Libyan coast guard as part of efforts to stem the flow of migrants from the North African country towards Italian shores.

As part of the deal, the coast guard has intercepted migrants in Libyan and international waters and has returned them to Libya.

Around 17,200 migrants were intercepted and returned to Libya last year.

Those who are intercepted and returned to Libya are held in government-run detention centres rife with abuses, including forced labour, beatings, rapes and torture - practices that amount to crimes against humanity, according to U.N.-commissioned investigators.

Libya has in recent years emerged as the dominant transit point for migrants fleeing war and poverty in Africa and the Middle East, even though the North African nation has plunged into chaos following a NATO-backed uprising that toppled and killed longtime autocrat Moammar Gadhafi in 2011.

View more