At least 11 Libyans fleeing their homeland to Europe drowned on Sunday after their overcrowded boat capsized in the Mediterranean Sea, the United Nations’ International Organization for Migration reported.
An additional 12 would-be refugees who were aboard the rubber dinghy were drawn from the water by the Libyan coast guard and transferred to a detention center for their attempted escape.
Libya’s decade-long civil war, which formally ended earlier this year when the warring parties agreed on a shared government, devastated the country and caused tens of thousands of citizens to seek refuge in Europe.
Since 2014, over 20,000 people have died at sea trying to escape Africa, nearly all of them on the central Mediterranean lane, designated by the UN as the most perilous migration route in the world. Last month, 130 migrants died in a similar incident.
Those on the smugglers’ packed boats who escape drowning but are caught by Libya’s various coast guard militias face inhumane imprisonment, UN agencies say, which includes beatings, rape and malnutrition.