Smugglers bury migrants alive

TMP – 02/06/2017

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has reported that people smugglers in Libya are going to sickening lengths to protect their profits even forcing migrants to kill and bury other migrants who are either too sick or injured to cope with sea crossings to Italy.

Those are ill or injured are perceived as being too much trouble, then they are killed according to Flavio Di Giacomo, spokesman for IOM.

“We have recently heard of cases where migrants who are wounded or sick have been buried alive by other migrants, on the orders of the traffickers,” Di Giacomo added.

“It’s horrific to think that traffickers can be so cruel. But they don’t care about the lives of migrants. If a migrant is a problem, they will kill them. A lot of migrants are shot dead on the beaches if they refuse to board the boats. It might be they see the boats are overcrowded or the weather conditions are very bad. They are scared of the sea,” he explained.

After spending months in Libya, many migrants have been victims of violence at the hands of Libyan militia or gangs of traffickers. By the time they are taken to the coast to board a boat, many migrants are sick, weak and exhausted.

Ousmane, a young Gambian migrant told IOM: “My friend got very sick in Libya. He was sick, but not dead. They buried him alive. They said he couldn’t have survived anyway. I heard him shout my name from the ground. I ran to him and saw them throwing dirt on top of him. I tried to save him, but they cut me with a knife.”

Last April, IOM also reported the horrors that hundreds of African migrants passing through Libya have endured. Many are bought and sold in modern-day slave markets, experience forced labour or sexual exploitation.