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A pregnant woman is transferred to the rescue boat during a rescue operation off the Libyan coast A pregnant woman is transferred to the rescue boat during a rescue operation off the Libyan coast  (AFP or licensors)

Escape bid highlights dire people traffic trade in Libya

Human traffickers in Libya have opened fire on large group of migrants attempting to flee captivity, leaving at least 15 dead.

By Nathan Morley

More than 100 migrants from Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia managed to escape from a barbed wire camp in Libya, where they were being held hostage by people traffickers

Doctors Without Borders said that 15 migrants were killed and many others injured during the escape.

Migrants held and tortured

Medical sources confirmed that they had been held hostage and tortured in the town of Bani Walid, south of Tripoli. The town is a staging point for many migrant boats that attempt the perilous journey to Europe.

 The group managed to escape to a local mosque, where they were given aid and shelter by local officials.

At least 20 young men were transferred to a local hospital to have their wounds treated, some of them were suffering from gunshot injuries, and others had been tortured.

People traffickers targeting migrants and refugees for ransom, remains a lucrative business in Libya.

'Miracle'

In a separate incident, a baby boy born on board a humanitarian ship has been named Miracle - his migrant mother was rescued trying to make the crossing from Libya.

With better weather, more migrant boats are expected to set sail in the coming weeks. Italy says over 1,400 migrants had been rescued at the end of last week.

Listen to Nathan Morley's report
27 May 2018, 17:04