| 20 May 2024, Monday |

Aid agency says Libya arbitrarily detained 500 migrants in raid

According to information received by a large humanitarian organization operating in Libya on Friday, at least 500 migrants were unjustly detained during a security operation in Tripoli declared by Libyan authorities.

“We’ve heard that over 500 migrants, including women and children, have been picked up, unlawfully imprisoned, and are at risk of torture and ill-treatment,” Dax Roque, the Norwegian Refugee Council’s national director, said in a statement.

Libya’s Interior Ministry announced that security forces had carried out a “major security operation” against “criminals, booze and drug sellers, and illegal immigrants,” according to the ministry.

Pictures posted by the Interior Ministry showed dozens of migrants sitting with hands cuffed behind them or being taken away in vehicles.

Hundreds of thousands of migrants live in Libya, many hoping to pass through and cross the Mediterranean to reach a better life in Europe.

However, Libya has had little peace or stability since the 2011 NATO-backed uprising that toppled Muammar Gaddafi and rights groups say migrants face threats of detention, extortion and abuse.

Some thousands of refugees and migrants are held in official detention facilities, some controlled by armed groups, as well as an unknown number in squalid centers run by traffickers.

  • Reuters