Libya orders closure of main migrant shelters

Tripoli, Aug 1 (IANS/AKI) The Tajoura shelter east of Tripoli where at least 53 migrants died in airstrikes on July 2 as well as detention centres in Misrata and Khoms will close with Libyan Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha issuing the orders, reports said.

Evacuation of the migrant facilities is already underway, the al-Wasat news site reported on Thursday.

Around 6,000 migrants have been locked up in Libya's detention centres, whose horrific conditions have been documented by the United Nations and by human rights groups.

UN envoy Ghassan Salame this week urged the UN Security Council to ask the internationally recognised government in Tripoli to take the "strategic decision" to release migrants in Libya.

Bashaga said last month his officials were considering closing all migrant centres and releasing detainees for their own safety after the UN reported that guards at Tajoura shot migrants trying to flee the deadly attack on the facility.

The UN-backed Government of National Accord blamed the Tajoura attack on eastern warlord Khalifa Haftar's warplanes.

Tripoli in is the grip of a four-month-old battle between Haftar's forces and those loyal to the GNA. The fighting has killed at least 1,093 people, injured 5,752 and has driven over 100,000 people from their homes, according to the UN World Health Organisation.

--IANS/AKI

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