Many More Migrant Bodies Wash Up On Libyan Beaches

Security guards from the nearby Mellitah Oil and Gas terminal, on the outskirts of the northwestern Libyan port city of Zuwarah, retrieve the body of a migrant that washed up on a beach on June 4, 2016. By Stringer (AFP/File)

Zuwarah (Libya) (AFP) - The bodies of 132 migrants trying to reach Europe have been found on western Libyan beaches over the past four days, the Red Crescent and a local official said Sunday.

All except three washed up on beaches in the town of Zuwarah, while the rest were found on a beach in Mellitah 20 kilometres (12 miles) further east.

"The total number of migrant bodies found on the beaches of Zuwarah since Thursday has gone up to 129," Red Crescent spokesman Mohammad al-Misrati told AFP.

He said 117 bodies were found on Thursday, confirming earlier reports, and said 12 more were found on Friday.

Zuwarah council member Khaled Ben Khalifa said three other bodies washed up on a beach in Mellitah, near a gas plant, bringing the total to 132.

People smugglers have exploited the chaos gripping Libya since the 2011 uprising that overthrew dictator Moamer Kadhafi to traffic migrants across the Mediterranean Sea to Europe.

It is a lucrative business for the smugglers who cram migrants into boats that are small and unsafe for the perilous journey to Italy just 300 kilometres (190 miles) from Libya's shores.

Thousands of migrants try each year to make the crossing, but many drown when their boats founder.

Source: AFP
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