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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 19 July 2018

19 migrants killed in Libya truck crash 

Human trafficking is on the rise in Libya: UN

Migrants wait at a naval base in Tripoli late on January 31, 2018. At least 19 migrants were killed on Wednesday and around 100 injured when the truck transporting them crashed in Libya. Mahmud Turkia / AFP
Migrants wait at a naval base in Tripoli late on January 31, 2018. At least 19 migrants were killed on Wednesday and around 100 injured when the truck transporting them crashed in Libya. Mahmud Turkia / AFP

At least 19 migrants were killed on Wednesday and around 100 injured when the truck transporting them crashed in Libya, a hospital said.

More than 300 migrants, most of them Eritrean and Somali nationals, were on board of the vehicle which overturned near the town of Bani Walid, said hospital spokesman Salah Hatem Al Twijer.

The migrants were Somalis and Eritreans who had been travelling in a truck packed with migrants, the source said. No more details were immediately available

A child was among those killed, the head of the town's hospital, Salah Al Mabrouk said.

The hospital, which had earlier given a toll of 23 dead, said at least 124 migrants were injured and it was struggling to cope.

"Several victims are even being treated on the ground," Mr Al Twijer said spokesman Salah Al Twijer.

Bani Walid, located south of Tripoli, is a hub for smugglers to bring migrants from Libya's southern sub-Saharan neighbours to the coast from where they travel by boat to Italy.

According to a panel of UN experts in the summary of a report to the Security Council, obtained on Tuesday by The Associated Press, "human trafficking is on the rise in Libya," with the country's west and south main hubs where Libyan and non-Libyan armed groups are earning "significant revenues," the experts said.

They expressed concern at the possible use of state facilities and state funds by armed groups and traffickers "to enhance their control of migration routes."

"International involvement in the migration issue has exacerbated competition between the armed groups," they said.

The panel also cited the continued deterioration of human rights from armed groups committing "arbitrary detentions, kidnappings and other severe violations," including those associated with the UN-backed Government of National Accord in Tripoli and the rival self-styled Libyan National Army based in the eastern city of Benghazi and led by Field Marshal Khalifa Hifter.

Libya plunged into chaos following a 2011 uprising that toppled and later killed longtime dictator Muammar GaddafiMoammar Gadhafi. It is now split between rival governments in the east and the west, each backed by an array of militias.

In December, the United Nations said it was "intensively trying to establish the proper political, legislative and security conditions for elections to be held before the end of 2018."

But the panel painted a grim picture of continuing disarray in the country, saying Libya's stability is increasingly linked to regional stability, "notably due to the growing involvement of foreign armed groups from Sudan and Chad."

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