Rescue Operation Saves Over 100 Migrants Held Captive in Southeast Libya

In a rescue operation led by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) in Benghazi, at least 107 migrants, including women and children, were freed from captivity in southeast Libya.

According to CID spokesman Walid Alorafi, the migrants, who mainly hail from sub-Saharan countries with a significant number from Somalia, had been held captive for up to seven months and expressed their desire to reach Europe.

“We raided a hideout in the downtown of Kufra last night and we found illegal migrants including women, children, and old men who some have marks of torture and bullets,” Alorafi said.

Following the raid, the migrants were handed over to the illegal migration agency for further processing.

Video footage released by CID showed the demolition of the house where the migrants were held, as well as migrants with torture marks on their bodies. Some migrants were seen being carried toward an ambulance by aid workers.

Alorafi stated that some migrants’ “health condition is very poor,” highlighting the desperate situation many migrants face.

Kufra, where the rescue operation took place, is approximately 1,712 kilometers (1,064 miles) from the capital Tripoli.

Since the toppling of Muammar Gaddafi in a NATO-backed uprising in 2011, Libya has become a transit route for migrants fleeing conflict and poverty to Europe via the dangerous route across the desert and over the Mediterranean.

Its oil-based economy also attracts migrants seeking work.

Libya is home to 704,369 migrants from over 43 nationalities, according to U.N. figures.

In March, at least 65 migrants’ bodies were discovered in a mass grave in southwest Libya by CID.

“I urge bolstered regional cooperation to ensure migrants’ protection,” said the U.N. special envoy Abdullah Bathily in his briefing to the Security Council in April, emphasizing the urgent need for action by Libyan authorities to ease human suffering.

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