Bodies of Europe-bound African migrants wash ashore in Libya
Tragedy struck yesterday, February 20th, as around 74 African migrants drowned after human smugglers intercepted them at sea and stole the motor of their boat at gunpoint, leaving them to their fate.
Bodies of the migrants, who were trying to reach Italy, washed up on a beach in the northwestern coastal city of Zawiya, around 60km to the west of Tripoli.
Initial figure put the dead at 45, however, the Libya Red Crescent, that confirmed the tragic incident says it has recovered 74 bodies from the shore.
Red Crescent spokesman Mohammed al-Mistrati told Associated Press that the bodies were found Monday morning and that he expected more to appear.
Flavio Di Giacomo, a spokesman for the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the UN Migration Agency, said their rubber boat departed from the western city of Sabratha on Saturday with 110 people aboard.
[PHOTOS] Bodies of Europe-bound African migrants wash ashore in Libya
What links the migrants’ stories is the fundamental human desire for survival. But that doesn’t begin to explain the complexity of Libya’s crisis.
The costs of the journey — both human and monetary — match a steep sum of desperation and demand.
The conundrum Libya poses for policymakers is that the root of its wave of migration does not come from a single source. Like a flood of tributaries streaming to the mouth of a river, migrants are fleeing en masse from at least a dozen different countries.
Shutting off the flow would mean addressing the needs of migrants spanning half of an entire continent.
To tell the story of Libya’s escalating migration crisis, one must weave together the threads of instability left behind by a toppled dictator, Muammar Gaddafi, and the power vacuum filled by rivaling factions vying to take his place. The chaos allowed smuggling networks to thrive, suddenly opening up a lucrative market designed to profit off trading humans like other goods and commodities.