Libyan authorities arrest more than 600 migrants in Tripoli

On Monday, the Libyan authorities arrested more than 600 migrants and refugees who had been camping for months in front of a former office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Tripoli, according to two relief organizations.

"We are concerned about the detention of hundreds of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers, including women and children," said Dax Rock, director of the "Norwegian Refugee Council" in Libya, in a statement to his organization, a copy of which was published in Arabic.

The humanitarian organization, quoting witnesses at the scene, confirmed that the arrest process witnessed "violence", during which tents used by migrants were burned during their sit-in in front of the center, which was closed in December.

"Our medical teams were assisting the injured during the arrests this morning, including one who was shot," said Thomas Garofalo, director of the International Relief Committee in Libya, in the same statement.

A violent security campaign targeting migrants in a popular neighborhood in the Libyan capital in early October led to the death of one person and the wounding of 15 others.

That campaign resulted in the arrest of at least five thousand people, but after a few days, about two thousand migrants fled en masse from a detention center and six of them were shot dead by the guards of the center, according to the International Organization for Migration.

The Norwegian Refugee Council confirmed Monday that "since the mass arrest of thousands of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers in October last year, their situation in Libya has worsened."

After falling into chaos following the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi's regime in 2011, Libya has become a destination for tens of thousands of migrants seeking to reach Europe by sea.

The Libyan navy often intercepts migrants in international waters while trying to reach Europe and then forcibly returns them to Libya, where they are held in deplorable conditions that are condemned by NGOs and the United Nations.

Dax Rock expressed his regret for what happened, considering it "the culmination of a catastrophic situation that has deteriorated over the past few months."

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