Libya, which has been in a state of civil war since 2011, has been struggling to beat armed gangs and criminal groupings which have the advantage of the chaos.
Reuters reported Thursday, citing a spokesman for the UN refugee agency UNHCR that up to 150 people could have died in a shipwreck off the Libyan coast.
“Tragic news of a deadly shipwreck off the coasts of Al Khoms [a port city in Libya]. Initial reports indicate that over 100 persons may have lost their lives while other 140 have been rescued & disembarked, receiving medical & humanitarian assistance by UNHCR partner IMC [International Medical Corps],” the Libyan branch of the UNHCR tweeted.
Meanwhile, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) tweeted that “nearly 150 migrants” were reported missing, while at least 145 returned to the Libyan shore.The day before, Libya’s coast guard said that it intercepted around three dozen Europe-bound migrants off its coast and took them to a detention centre.
This recent tragedy is not the first of its kind to happen in the Mediterranean. In May, a ship with undocumented African migrants aboard sank while heading for Italy from Libya. In February this year, a small ship carrying 18 undocumented migrants sank near the Algerian city of Oran.
Despite the ongoing civil war, Libya is a hub for migrants, many of whom try to reach Europe in boats.
Source: News Agencies