Several Egyptians killed in clashes with smugglers in Libya

2016-04-28 08:04


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Cairo - At least a dozen Egyptians have been killed in clashes with smugglers in central Libya, Egypt's Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday.

Spokesman Ahmed Abu-Zeid said in a statement that 12 to 16 Egyptian illegal migrants were killed in clashes in the town of Beni Walid. He said Egyptian officials are communicating with Libyan authorities in the area to identify those who were killed and repatriate their bodies. The statement did not provide further details.

Egyptian state-run newspaper el-Ahram el-Arabi quoted eyewitnesses as saying a dispute broke out between the Egyptian migrants and the Libyan smugglers, leading to the killing of three smugglers. The witnesses said relatives of the slain smugglers opened fire on the Egyptian migrants, killing 16 of them.

The UN envoy to Libya, Martin Kobler, expressed his condolences and called for calm. "Local authorities should investigate and provide justice," he tweeted Wednesday.

Libya has become a major conduit for migration from Africa and the Middle East toward Europe as traffickers have exploited the country's chaos. Libya has mostly been ruled by militias since the 2011 uprising that toppled Moammar Gadhafi, and has been split between rival governments since 2014.

Kobler has been leading efforts to establish a unity government in Tripoli that can stabilize the country and lead the fight against an increasingly powerful Islamic State affiliate and other extremist groups.

Read more on:    egypt  |  libya  |  security

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