At least six migrants were shot dead at a detention centre in the Libyan capital, Tripoli. This occured amidst reports of a mass escape of migrants from the overcrowded facility, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) reported on Friday evening.
In a statement, the IOM’s Head of mission in Libya, Federico Soda, said that the overcrowding at Ghot Shaal detention centre had led to chaos, with people sleeping in the open and different security forces present.
Several videos posted on social media showed that dozens of people were pouring through a gap in a fence, and larger numbers were marching through Tripoli’s streets.
Dozens of migrants were seen sitting on the floor surrounded by guards and said there was a very heavy security presence around the area and there had been sporadic sounds of shooting.
On Friday, the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said that it was increasingly alarmed about the situation for migrants and refugees in Libya. More than 5,000 were arrested in the recent crackdown. Some detainees have allegedly been subjected to severe physical and sexual violence.
“The raids, which also involved the demolition of many unfinished buildings and makeshift houses, have created widespread panic and fear among asylum seekers and refugees in the capital,” the UNHCR said in a statement.
On Monday United Nations (UN) investigators said abuses against migrants and refugees in Libya were occurring “on a widespread scale … with a high level of organisation and with the encouragement of the state … suggestive of crimes against humanity“.
In addition, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) said that the number of people in Tripoli’s detention centres has more than trebled since Monday. “During the raids on their homes, many of those captured were reportedly subjected to severe physical violence, including sexual violence,” the charity said in a statement.