Bodies wash up on Libyan beach

  • 31/08/2015

Libya's Red Crescent says another boat carrying migrants has sunk off the country's coast and the bodies of at least seven people have been washed up.

"We were alerted that a boat had sunk and that there are bodies on the beach in Khoms," 120km east of Tripoli, Red Crescent spokesman Mohammad al-Misrati told AFP on Sunday.

"We don't know how many people were on board, but the coastguard has begun a rescue operation and we are preparing to retrieve at least seven bodies that have been washed up."

The latest sinking comes just days after a boat carrying nearly 400 would-be migrants foundered near Libya's western port of Zuwara.

Misrati has said that 126 bodies from that boat were recovered from the sea and 198 people rescued.

"There are still 50 to 60 people who are missing," he said.

Libya, with a coastline of 1770km has for years been a stepping stone for Africans seeking a better life in Europe.

Most head for Italy's Lampedusa island which is 300km from Libya.

People smugglers have taken advantage of chaos in Libya since the 2011 uprising that toppled and killed veteran dictator Muammar Gaddafi to step up their lucrative business.

In exchange for steep fees, they take would-be migrants on board rickety boats for the treacherous Mediterranean crossing.

About 2500 people have died at sea trying to reach Europe this year alone.