On Friday, the international medical humanitarian organisation Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) called for the immediate release of 60 people held in captivity by armed men in Sabratah, Libya.
The group, which includes 24 children, was abducted from their homes almost two weeks ago and is held on a former military base in appalling conditions.
MSF reported that masked armed men stormed homes in Al Ajaylat on September 28, and took approximately 350 people, mostly from West Africa, to a warehouse guarded by armed men in nearby Sabratah. Since then, some have escaped, and others were released, but 60 people remain held in captivity, MSF confirms.
“The remaining 60 people, [mostly] women and children, must be immediately released and protected,” said Guillaume Baret, MSF’s head of mission in Libya.
MSF described the crisis as “a shocking illustration of the constant danger faced by refugees and migrants in Libya.”
It pointed out that those who managed to escape or who were released from the warehouse are returning to an equally uncertain and dangerous environment. “People trapped in Libya cannot escape violence or find safety,” the NGO explained.
MSF confirmed that about 2,400 people are arbitrarily detained in the Directorate for Combatting Illegal Migration’s (DCIM) centres in Libya. It also affirmed that many more are likely held in horrific conditions in other clandestine structures, similar to the warehouse in Sabratah.
The Secretary-General of the Arab Organisation for Human Rights (AOHR) in Libya, Abdel-Moneim Al-Horr, said that the humanitarian situation of migrants held in Libyan detention centres was extremely dangerous and complicated.
Al-Horr noted that the Government of National Accord (GNA) disclosed it has 23 official detention centres, where the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCR) and International Organisation for Migration (IOM) operate. However, there are reportedly many other shelters, and detention centres in western Libya that international organisations know nothing about.