CAIRO (AP) — A shooting in a detention center for migrants in Libya’s capital left one migrant dead and two others injured, an international charity said Saturday. The violence underscored the peril vulnerable migrants face in the conflict-torn country.
The circumstances surrounding the shooting Thursday were not immediately clear and Doctors Without Borders said authorities have reportedly opened an investigation.
The shooting took place in the severely overwhelmed al-Mabani Collection and Return Center in Tripoli, according to the charity, known also by its French acronym, MSF.
One migrant was killed and two others, ages 17 and 18, were wounded and taken to a hospital run by the charity.
“This shooting demonstrates the grave risks that people face while locked up in these detention centers for an indefinite period of time,” said Ellen van der Velden, MSF’s operational manager for Libya.
The al-Mabani facility houses around 1,500 migrants, up from 300 in early February, underscoring the increase in intercepted Europe-bound migrants by the Libyan coast guard, MSF said.
More than 6,000 migrants have been intercepted this year on the Mediterranean Sea while trying to flee Libya to find a better life in Europe, it said.
The international aid group said there were mounting tensions in recent weeks inside institutions that house refugees and migrants including women, children and unaccompanied minors.
Since the 2011 NATO-backed uprising that ousted and killed longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi, Libya has emerged as the dominant transit point for migrants fleeing war and poverty in Africa and the Middle East. Smugglers often pack desperate families into ill-equipped rubber boats that stall and founder on the dangerous Central Mediterranean route.