20 found dead in Libya desert after vehicle breakdown: rescuers

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A fighter loyal to the internationally recognised Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) exits a vehicle in an area south of the Libyan capital Tripoli. (Mahmud Turkia/AFP).
A fighter loyal to the internationally recognised Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) exits a vehicle in an area south of the Libyan capital Tripoli. (Mahmud Turkia/AFP).

Twenty people were found dead in the Libyan desert following a vehicle breakdown near the border with Chad and were presumed to have died of thirst, rescuers said Wednesday.

A team "recovered 20 bodies found in the desert after their vehicle broke down," rescue services in the south eastern region of Kufra said in a statement.

The vehicle had come from neighbouring Chad and reached some 120 kilometres (75 miles) into Libyan territory before breaking down, the statement added.

"They all died of thirst," it said.

The service published a video on Facebook showing decomposing bodies in the desert sand near a pick-up truck.

The sparsely populated region regularly sees summer temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit).

Libya was plunged into lawlessness following the 2011 uprising that toppled and killed dictator Moamer Kadhafi, and its southern borders with Chad, Niger and Sudan have become notorious for people trafficking and smuggling.

Thousands of people cross them every year in attempts to reach the Mediterranean coast and ultimately Europe, but many die en route, including in the harsh Sahara desert.


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