Migrants shot on beach

Fatal journey: Libyan ­workers ­recover the bodies of drowned migrants. 
(Photo: AFP)

Fatal journey: Libyan ­workers ­recover the bodies of drowned migrants. (Photo: AFP)

People smugglers have killed 22 African migrants on a beach in western Libya, a security source said on Wednesday.

They were about to embark from Sabrata beach, 70km west of Tripoli, the source said. They were killed after refusing to board their boat because of bad weather.

The Libyan Red Crescent confirmed the killings had taken place over the weekend, but was unable to provide further details.

The Geneva-based International Organisation for Migration (IOM) said on Tuesday it had heard reports of the deaths.
“There seems to have been an exchange of fire between the smugglers, which resulted in the death of 22 migrants,” it said.

Six years since a revolution and Nato intervention that toppled the regime of dictator Muammar Gaddafi, Libya has become a key departure point for clandestine migration to Europe.

Smugglers organise frequent crossings to the Italian island of Lampedusa, a 300km trip.

The IOM said, from January 1 to March 5, 521 immigrants have died in the Mediterranean, but 20 000 were able to reach the European coasts. — AFP

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