KHUMS, Libya (Reuters) – The bodies of more than a dozen migrants who drowned trying to cross the Mediterranean into Europe were taken to the Libyan coast late Saturday, the interior ministry and the local Red Crescent said.
Libya is a major transit point for migrants, many from African countries, looking for better opportunities in Europe.
The Red Crescent in Khums, a port in western Libya, said 17 bodies, including the body of a child, were found off the coast of nearby Alous on Saturday and that 10 more bodies were found on another beach.
The interior ministry later said 14 bodies from a group of 60 people believed to be missing at sea had been found.
It is not clear from the statements whether they all belong to the same group, and Interior Ministry officials were not immediately available for comment.
“They were at sea for about a day,” said Osama al-Saket, head of Khums Hospital, which received the bodies following a call from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and police authorities.
“The bodies were still intact … there were 14 of them, along with one small baby,” al-Saket added.
More people have tried to cross the Mediterranean this year after several years of reduced numbers since 2015. About 1,500 drowned in 2021, the United Nations Migration Agency (IOM) said last week.
The agency’s project of missing migrants has designated the Central Mediterranean route as the deadliest known migration route in the world, with more than 17,000 recorded deaths and disappearances since 2014.
Photos released by Khums Red Crescent show a series of bodies laid out along the beach as workers put them in bags.
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