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Bodies of 87 refugees recovered off Libya coast: Media official

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Refugees sail aboard a partially-punctured rubber boat during a rescue operation in the Mediterranean off Libyan coast, July 21, 2016. ©AP

Libyan rescue workers have in recent days recovered 87 dead bodies of drowned refugees that washed up on a western beach, media reports say.

The bodies started washing up on the beach of Libya’s Sabratha city on Friday, AFP quoted a local media official as saying.

The official further said that 41 corpses were retrieved on Saturday alone and sent to a morgue for DNA testing before being buried.

The rest of the drowned refugees were found over the weekend.

Large numbers of refugees from the Middle East and North Africa have died over the past months while trying to reach Europe via the sea in search of a better life.

Refugees arrive on the port of Cagliari, Sardinia, aboard a rescue ship on May 26, 2016, two days after being rescued near the Libyan coasts. ©AFP

The coats of Libya have turned to a jumping-off point for people seeking to reach Europe. The unsafe rubber boats which carry hundreds of refugees often capsize off Libya, especially its western coast.

Human traffickers have taken advantage of the chaos gripping Libya since the 2011 to boost their lucrative business.

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, more than 10,000 Europe-bound refugees, mostly sub-Saharan Africans, have died or gone missing in the Mediterranean since 2014.

Europe is facing an unprecedented influx of refugees, most of whom are fleeing conflict-ridden zones in Africa and the Middle East, particularly Syria.

Many blame support by some Western countries for militants operating in the Middle East as the main reason behind the departure of refugees from their home countries.


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