Hundreds return to Libya in desperate bid to reach Europe

Hundreds of migrants and refugees who fled Libya for Tunisia and Egypt, have crossed back into Libya with the intention of making the perilous sea journey to Europe, according to the UN refugee Agency, UNHCR.

African migrants

African migrants

Among them are refugees from Somalia, Ethiopia and Eritrea.

UNHCR says it was in discussions with the migrants and refugees highlighting the risks involved.

However many are determined to take the journey.

Melissa Fleming from UNHCR says there were indications that authorities in Tripoli were encouraging the migrants to get on the boats.

“They say they are fully aware of the high death toll, but they told us that they feel they have nothing to lose. One Eritrean man told us he would rather die trying to reach safety than to continue to live in the danger he feels he’s living in Libya right now. In the years before, many of them have faced periods of detention, and they come from countries like Eritrea and Somalia where safe return is not a possibility. We believe that the camp conditions are decent and dignified – they have shelter and they have food .  What they don’t have right now is hope that they have a future. The only way we can provide them with that hope and to give them that future is that hope is if third countries agree to accept them and resettle them.”

UNHCR says 14,000 people have to date arrived by boat in Italy and Malta from Libya.

Based on accounts from survivors and family members, over 1,200 people are unaccounted for and feared dead since March 25.

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