20 bodies allegedly found in Libyan desert, rescuers say they may have died because of thirst

Rescuers have reported the discovery of 20 lifeless bodies of people who allegedly got lost in the Libyan desert and were presumed to have died because of thirst.

The bodies were found on Tuesday, 120 kilometers (74 miles) from the Chadian border and 320 kilometers (198 miles) southwest of Kufra, by a truck driver who had been driving across the desert.

Libyan desert
Remains of the migrants who died in the Libyan desert [Photo Credit: Reuters]

“The driver got lost and we suspect the group died in the desert around 14 days ago because the last call on a mobile phone found on them was on June 13,” Kufra ambulance chief Ibrahim Belhasan said by phone on Wednesday.

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

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According to Belhasan, two of the victims were Libyans while the remaining bodies were possibly migrants from Chad who had entered Libya.

Since the 2011 NATO-backed uprising that unseat and killed longstanding leader Muammar Gaddafi, Libya has metamorphosed into a major transit point for people fleeing war and poverty in Africa and parts of the Middle East, and hoping to find a better life in Europe via the dangerous route across the desert and over the Mediterranean.

But many die while traveling the dangerous routes, including in the harsh Sahara desert.

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The International Organization for Migration estimates that at least 1,500 refugees died in boat accidents and shipwrecks in the Central Mediterranean route last year alone.


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