Saturday 19 October 2019

German minister calls for rescue of migrants

Debris covers the ground after an airstrike at a detention center in Tajoura, east of Tripoli in Libya, on Wednesday. Photo: AP Photo/Hazem Ahmed
Debris covers the ground after an airstrike at a detention center in Tajoura, east of Tripoli in Libya, on Wednesday. Photo: AP Photo/Hazem Ahmed

Justin Huggler

A Germany government minister has called for an "international rescue mission" for migrants trapped in detention camps in Libya after an airstrike there killed at least 53 people.

"The people in these wretched camps have the prospect of dying there from violence or hunger, trying to get home and dying of thirst in the desert, or drowning in the Mediterranean," Gerd Muller, the German development minister, said.

"We need a joint humanitarian initiative by Europe and the United Nations to rescue migrants on Libyan soil.

"The new EU Commission must act immediately. We cannot wait a day longer."

At least 53 people died, with 130 injured, in an airstrike on a migrant detention camp in the Libyan capital Tripoli last week. Most of the victims were believed to be sub-Saharan Africans trying to reach Europe. The attack, condemned by the UN as a possible war crime, is widely thought to have been carried out by rebel forces led by General Khalifa Haftar, though the Libyan government claimed the United Arab Emirates was responsible.

Mr Muller offered no details of what an international rescue mission would entail. He warned that climate change was exacerbating the migrant crisis and could lead to millions more Africans seeking to flee to Europe.

Irish Independent

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