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The Ministry of Interior and the Red Crescent Society in Libya revealed that the bodies of more than 12 migrants floated on the Libyan coast late on Saturday, after they drowned while trying to cross the Mediterranean to Europe.
Libya is a major transit point for migrants, many of whom are from African countries seeking better opportunities in Europe.
Mohamed Abu Shaala, head of the Red Crescent in the coastal city of Al-Khums in western Libya, said that 15 bodies, one of them a baby, were removed from the beach in the nearby town of Alous yesterday, Saturday. He added that three survivors said that a total of 35 people were in the boat that sank.
He added that what was reported on social media that 17 bodies and about ten other bodies were found on a different beach is incorrect.
Dr. Osama Al-Saket, director of Al-Khums Teaching Hospital, said that the bodies remained at sea for about a day. The hospital had received the bodies after phone calls from the International Organization for Migration and the police.
Al-Saket added that the bodies were not decomposed, and that the hospital had received 14 bodies and the bodies of an infant.
The Interior Ministry later said the bodies of 14 of the group of 60 migrants believed to be missing at sea had been recovered.
It is not clear from the Interior Ministry statement whether it refers to the same group, and it has not yet been possible to obtain clarification from ministry officials.
More numbers have attempted to cross the Mediterranean this year than fewer have done so in the years since 2015. The United Nations’ International Organization for Migration said 1,500 migrants drowned in the Mediterranean in 2021.
The organization’s Missing Migrants Project describes the Central Mediterranean route as the most dangerous migration route known in the world, with more than 17,000 drowned and missing since 2014.
Pictures released by the Red Crescent showed the five bodies lying on the beach while workers put them in bags.
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