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350 migrants abducted from their homes in western Libya by armed men

The international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) called for the immediate release of 60 people being held in captivity by armed men in Sabratah, in western Libya.

The group, which includes 24 children, was abducted from their homes almost two weeks ago and is being held on a former military base in appalling conditions.

On the night of September 28, masked armed men stormed homes in Al Ajaylat, stole valuable items and identification documents, and took approximately 350 people, mostly from West Africa, to a warehouse guarded by armed men in nearby Sabratah. Since then, some have escaped, and others were released, but 60 people remain held in captivity.

“The remaining 60 people, [mostly] women and children, must be immediately released and protected,” said Guillaume Baret, MSF’s head of mission in Libya.

MSF’s medical team was alerted of the incident by the Libyan Directorate for Combatting Illegal Migration (DCIM) and went to the warehouse two days later to assess the situation and provide medical care. “We found over 350 women, children, and men sleeping on the ground in [appalling] living conditions without access to water, showers, or toilets,” said Baret.

MSF referred four people to the hospital for care and distributed water and emergency food rations. MSF medics were only allowed to consult with women and children—they were not allowed to treat men. The situation in the warehouse was tense, with armed men firing shots into the air.

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