As many as 100 bodies believed to be sub-saharan migrants have been found in the sea and the shores of the Tajoura, a coastal town about 10kms east of Tripoli, according to spokesman for the capital’s anti-immigration department.
Details are still a bit sketchy but a the spokesman said there were women and children among the dead. He could not confirm their numbers or indicate their nationality. They are believed to be the victims of a shipwreck off Tajoura, which is known as a sending spot for migrants heading for Europe on boats.
The bodies recovered in Tajoura are being transferred to a hospital in the capital. More details throughout the day.
If the number of dead is confirmed it would be the biggest tragedy by far since April 18 when 850 migrants are believed to have lost their lives in a single shipwreck off Libya.
A record 1,780 migrants had lost their lives in the Mediterranean up to that point but the deaths slowed down after EU leaders reacted by expanding the search and rescue effort to unprecedented levels. In a statement on Friday, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) put the number of migrant deaths in the Mediterranean up to that point at 1,900.
On the same day the statement was issued, however, 12 migrants were recovered dead after the boat they were on capsized off Libya. Earlier in the week, Turkish and Greek coastguard mounted a search for 19 people believed to have drowned while crossing between the two countries.