Dangers Facing Desperate Migrants in Libya

Migrants who survived the deadly airstrike on a Libyan detention center said they had been conscripted by a local militia to work in an adjacent weapons workshop. The decision to store weapons at the facility in Tajoura, to the east of Tripoli, may have made it a target for the self-styled Libyan National Army, which is at war with an array of militias allied with a weak, U.N.-recognized government in the capital. The Tripoli government has blamed Wednesday’s pre-dawn strike, which killed at least 44 migrants and wounded more than 130, on the LNA and its foreign backers. The LNA, led by Field Marshal Khalifa Hifter, says it targeted a nearby militia position but denies striking the hangar where the migrants were being held. The U.N. and aid groups have meanwhile blamed the tragedy in part on the European Union’s policy of partnering with Libyan militias to prevent migrants from crossing the Mediterranean Sea to seek a better life in Europe. Critics of the policy say it leaves migrants at the mercy of brutal traffickers or confined in detention facilities near the front lines that often lack adequate food and water. The dangers facing desperate migrants were highlighted further Thursday as the U.N.’s migration agency reported that a boat carrying 86 migrants from Libya sank in the Mediterranean Sea overnight and only three people were confirmed as survivors.SOURCE:  WASHINGTON POST

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