03 July 2019

Last night’s airstrike on Tajoura detention centre, which is reported to have killed dozens of migrants and refugees, is a horrific tragedy that could have easily been avoided.

There were over 600 vulnerable men, women and children trapped in Tajoura detention centre at the time of the attack. Our teams had visited the centre just yesterday and saw 126 people in the cell that was hit.

Those that survived are in absolute fear for their lives.

MSF, Doctors Without Borders, Libya, detention centre attack
Tajoura detention centre east of Tripoli was hit by airstrikes around midnight on Tuesday 2 July killing dozens migrants and refugees detained in the centre (reports of at least 40 people). Archived photo: Sara Creta

This is not the first time the migrants and refugees have been caught in the crossfire of the conflict in Tripoli with multiple airstrikes on or near detention centres across Tripoli since the conflict started in early April. Just eight weeks ago in Tajoura detention centre shrapnel from the blast tore through the roof of the women’s hanger and nearly hit an infant.

The reality is today for every person evacuated or resettled this year, more than twice as many have been forcibly returned to Libya by the EU supported Libyan Coastguard.

What is needed now is not empty condemnation but the urgent and immediate evacuation of all refugees and migrants held in detentions centres out of Libya. Today, inaction and complacency have needlessly cost the lives of more vulnerable refugees and migrants.”

-          Prince Alfani, MSF Medical Coordinator Libya