Bodies of six children discovered in Libya shipping container

Bodies of six children discovered in Libya shipping container
Libyan authorities have transferred a number of migrants said to be in 'critical' conditions to hospital after the discovery of around 100 people in shipping containers.
2 min read
17 July, 2018
Libya has become a key transit point for migration to Europe [AFP]

The bodies of eight migrants, six of whom were children, who suffocated to death were discovered in a shipping container in northwestern Libya on Monday, authorities in the country have said.

A further 90 people were discovered inside the containers, some of whom were transferred to local hospitals, according to a statement by the National Security Directorate in Zuwara city.

The migrants included nationals of Pakistan, Bangladesh and African and Middle Eastern countries.

"We were tipped off about a suspicious truck east of Zuwara, near the Mellitah gas complex," Hafed Muammar, a spokesman for the security forces in Zuwara, told AFP.

"We followed up on the tip and seized the refrigerator truck used to stock fish and found inside 100 migrants... [some] asphyxiated and in a serious state of fatigue," he said.

The hospital in Zuwara was placed in a state of emergency to deal with the large number of migrants admitted, the National Security Directorate's statement said.

It did not specify how many migrants had to be hospitalised, but indicated that some of them were in serious condition and suffering from respiratory problems.

Rocked by lawlessness since the NATO-backed 2011 uprising that toppled and killed longtime dictator Muammar Gaddafi, Libya has become a key transit country for illegal migration across the Mediterranean Sea.

The migrants, who are exploited by smugglers, often try to make the treacherous crossing on unseaworthy boats, hoping to reach Italy and make their way further inland in Europe to start new lives.