IOM Investigates Fatal Migrant Shootings in Libya’s Bani Walid

By International Office of Migration (IOM)

IOM Libya staffer Ashraf Hassan met Thursday with Egyptian diplomats in Tunisia to investigate reports of the killings this week of more than a dozen Egyptian men, migrants bound for Europe, who authorities say were shot to death in Bani Walid, near Libya's Mediterranean coast.

Hassan said the latest information from Libya is that a total of 32 migrants were in the hands of Libyan smugglers–10 of those migrants came from Syria, joined by 20 migrants from Egypt and two Somalis. He said 13 Egyptians were killed by gunfire, in an attack reportedly launched in retaliation for the killing of three smugglers in a dispute with migrants in their custody.

Media reports from the region mentioned a greater number of casualties–as many as 16 Egyptians and 14 Syrians for a total of 30 fatalities–but these reports could not be verified by IOM.

IOM is prepared to assist any of the 19 survivors of the clash who wish to return to their countries of origin under its Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) programme.

In the past two years, the programme has helped hundreds of third country nationals leave Libya and return to their homes in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, South Asia and the Philippines. IOM was also asked to help to return cadavers of the 13 victims, but has made no commitment to do so at this time.