Libya – The UN Migration Agency (IOM), on Thursday with representatives of UNHCR briefed members of the UN’s Libya country team on the ongoing efforts to rescue what are believed to be up to 200 victims of kidnapping and torture in Libya.
The victims, whose plight came to IOM’s attention through contacts in Africa who had discovered video of the migrants in captivity via social media, are known to be Somali and Ethiopian nationals – both men and women – whose families in the Horn of Africa have received ransom demands based on short video clips depicting scenes of active torture. This tactic, which is not new, has been reported for several years across the northern Sahara region and even in parts of Latin America. IOM believes the video is authentic.
“IOM is currently working closely with all partners in trying to locate the migrants. IOM supports the Libyan efforts in the fight against the smuggling networks and we are very concerned about the current situation,” said Othman Belbeisi, IOM’s Chief of Mission in Libya.