World

Bodies of 95 migrants wash ashore in Libya

Libyan Red Crescent workers placed bodies washed ashore near Tripoli into bags. The bodies of 95 migrants were found near a smugglers’ route.
Mohamed Ben Khalifa/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Libyan Red Crescent workers placed bodies washed ashore near Tripoli into bags. The bodies of 95 migrants were found near a smugglers’ route.

BENGHAZI, Libya — The bodies of at least 95 migrants have been found washed ashore in Libya over the past five days, a spokesman for Libya’s Red Crescent said Sunday.

Mohamed al-Masrati said Red Crescent scouts found 85 of the corpses near Libya’s capital, Tripoli, and 10 near Sabartha, a city that is a main launching point for smugglers’ boats headed to Europe. He said most of the deceased are migrants from other African countries and search efforts continue.

Thousands of migrants seeking a better life in Europe cast off from Libya on rickety boats, hoping to reach Italy. The International Organization for Migration says that more than 2,600 migrants have died in 2015 so far on the Central Mediterranean route that includes Libya.

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Smugglers have exploited Libya’s internal turmoil to ship thousands of desperate migrants into the Mediterranean.

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At the same time, the number of Libyans displaced by the fighting continues to rise.

‘‘Up to today there are more than 550,000 internally displaced people in Libya due to the current conflict in Benghazi and other places, and we believe this number will increase to at least 600,000,’’ said Masrati.

The United Nations is pressing Libya’s rival governments to form a national unity government. Meanwhile the world body says an estimated 2.44 million people in Libya — nearly 40 percent of the country’s population — are in need of protection and some form of humanitarian assistance.

Also on Sunday, Chancellor Angela Merkel said Germany has to get used to the mass influx of refugees. As Europe faces its biggest refugee crisis since the end of World War II, Merkel is facing increasing pressure from within her own party to limit the number of newcomers the country accepts.

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Critics say Merkel has encouraged more migrants to travel to Germany by announcing an open-door policy to those fleeing war and oppression.

Associated Press