Libyan police arrested 287 Egyptian migrants, including children, who were planning to leave Libya for Italy. The migrants were kept in a warehouse south of the coastal city of Tobruk, by human traffickers.
In a live broadcast of Libya News 24, the children stated they were subjected to various forms of violence and beatings, during their stay in the warehouse.
“They took everything from us in the storeroom, phones, money, paper, and everything. They beat and insulted our humanity,” the children said.
The youngest child, Ziad Adawi, 12, from Assiut Governorate said, “I was looking forward to going to Italy to work there, to earn some money.”
Kerilos, 14, said he walked 50 kilometers in the desert on foot, and did not carry food or much money. “They transferred us from car to car, and they didn’t give us food to eat, they just beat us. We sat in the warehouse in Libya for about 6 months. We were over 300 in the warehouse,” he explained.
Another child said “We wanted to travel to Italy to work, any job. My aunt’s children told me to come from Tobruk to Italy. The people who would take us to Italy told us we will spend three days, and then travel.”
In late August, a boat carrying about 27 Egyptian migrants capsized in the Mediterranean, off the coast of Libya on Sunday.
Libya’s Coast Guard said that a group of 27 Egyptian migrants set off from the Libyan coasts, three days earlier. Two migrants were found dead and 19 are still missing and presumed dead. In addition to six migrants who were rescued, and taken to hospital.
Libya has emerged as the dominant transit point for migrants fleeing war and poverty in Africa and the Middle East, hoping for a better life in Europe. The shipwreck is just the latest tragedy at sea.
Human traffickers in recent years have benefited from the chaos in Libya, smuggling in migrants across the oil-rich country’s lengthy borders with six nations. The migrants are then packed into ill-equipped rubber boats, and set off on risky sea voyages.