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Libya repatriates Sudanese from Tobruk

October 18 - 2016 TOBRUK
Tobruk, a port city in Libya near the Egyptian border.
Tobruk, a port city in Libya near the Egyptian border.

Sudanese nationals stranded in the port city of Tobruk in Libya are being repatriated by Libyan authorities. Migrants in the country have reported a high number of cases of exploitation and abuses by human traffickers to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

The Libyan Interior Ministry issued a decision for the launch of the evacuation of approximately 1,500 Sudanese who have been held in Tobruk since August. Tobruk is just 120 kilometres away from the Egyptian border.

Speaking to Radio Dabanga earlier this month, one of the stranded Sudanese reported that the group is running out of money and material to survive, demanding the repatriation from the war-torn country.

Yesterday he said that the first group of Sudanese left Tobruk on Sunday, “in 181 vehicles heading to the Egyptian border gate of El Saloum”. A second group is expected to leave in about 170 vehicles on Wednesday.

Tens of thousands of Sudanese left their home country to find a livelihood in Libya, where many have been stuck between the warring Libyan parties in cities such as Tripoli and Benghazi.

Migrants exploited

Migrants journeying via Libya are between seven and 10 times more likely to be abused than those reaching Europe from Turkey, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) revealed in a report on the occasion of Anti-Slavery Day 2016 on 18 October.

Almost three quarters of migrants attempting to cross the central Mediterranean have experienced exploitation and human trafficking, most commonly in Libya. This coast the main launching point for smugglers' boats, and criminal gangs prey on asylum seekers travelling across Africa.

Almost half of the men, women and children rescued in the central Mediterranean said they had been imprisoned for ransom during their journey towards Europe, most of them in Libya. The IOM said practices occurring with alarming frequency included forced labour, imprisonment, kidnapping, ransom and physical and sexual abuse.

Findings were based on almost 9,000 surveys taken by refugees who reached Italy travelling via sea over the last ten months.


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