Grave containing 65 migrants discovered in Libya

IOM believes the people died while being smuggled through the desert

Routes through the Sahara desert into Libya are commonly used by people smugglers.  Reuters
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A mass grave containing at least 65 migrants has been uncovered in south-west Libya, the UN's International Organisation for Migration said on Friday.

The circumstances of their deaths and their nationalities are unknown, but it is believed that they died while being smuggled through the desert towards the Mediterranean

“Each report of a missing migrant or a loss of life represents a grieving family searching for answers about their loved ones or acknowledging the tragedy of the loss,” the IOM said.

Libyan investigators are at the scene, the IOM said, calling on the authorities and UN partners to “ensure a dignified recovery, identification and transfer of the remains of the deceased migrants, and appropriately notifying and assisting their families”.

Libya, which hosts an estimated 600,000 migrants and refugees, is a common departure point for migrants seeking a life in Europe, but the way across the central Mediterranean is one of the world's most dangerous maritime migration routes.

“The cost of inadequate action is evident in the increasing human deaths and the disturbing conditions migrants find themselves in,” the IOM said.

At least 3,129 deaths migrant deaths and disappearances have been recorded in 2023 along the Mediterranean route, the Missing Migrants Project said.

The IOM said 226 people have died or gone missing by using that route, since the start of 2024, not including the latest incident.

Updated: March 23, 2024, 9:24 AM