Libya may shut migrant detention centres after deadly airstrike


Libya’s government is considering closing all migrant detention centres in the wake of an airstrike that killed 53 people after it was reported that guards shot at detainees trying to flee the attack. Overnight the air force of Gen Khalifa Haftar kept up its bombardment of the Libyan capital, Tripoli, mounting raids on the international airport.

A UN humanitarian report said there were two airstrikes in the early hours of Wednesday morning, one hitting an unoccupied garage and one hitting a hangar housing about 120 refugees and migrants. Reports, including from UN agencies, suggested guards forced the refugees to stay in the Tajoura detention centre after the first strike hit the garage, only for the second missile to hit the hangar. “There are reports that following the first impact, some refugees and migrants were fired upon by guards as they tried to escape,” the UN report said.

The UN-recognised government of national accord (GNA) has accused the force led by Haftar of mounting the air raid. Haftar launched a military assault on the capital on 4 April in an effort to oust the GNA, which he claims is supported by terrorists and Islamists. The GNA interior minister, Fathi Bashagha, said on Thursday his officials were discussing closing all detention centres and releasing the refugees and migrants for their own safety.(Theguardian)…[+]