(Author: Libyan Gazette Editorial Staff)
Locals in the Warshefana district west of Tripoli took it upon themselves to bury the decomposing bodies of 21 refugees that washed up ashore after local officials failed to take immediate action, a non-profit organization and medics reported on Monday.
Some of the bodies first washed ashore west of Tripoli August 2nd on a beach known as Al-Maya located in the Warshefana district, said a civil society group based in the district.
Three days later, more bodies were found on the shores of Al-Maya beach said the civil society group. The group described the bodies to be in an “advanced state of decomposition.”
“Residents became increasingly scared this could spark diseases and epidemics, said the group.
Hussam Nasr, the chief of the Libyan Red Crescent, said his team was made aware of the situation in Al-Maya and sent a team to check it out.
“We went there to retrieve the bodies and DNA samples. We also tried to get in touch with the authorities to secure a permit to bury the bodies to no avail and the bodies remained on the beach for three days,” Nasr said.
However, residents concerned over the “health hazard” could not wait for officials to issue a permit and decided to bury the bodies anyways, explained Nasr.
A Muslim funeral service was organized on Saturday after the bodies of unidentified refugees were moved to a cemetery in Al-Maya where they were buried.
Human traffickers have been able to easily move refugees through Libya ever since the 2011 Libyan uprising. Refugees fleeing Africa to Europe for a better life are usually stuffed in unsafe boats which are expected to carry them from Libya to Italy across the Mediterranean Sea. Many of the boats carrying refugees have capsized resulting in unidentified bodies washing up on Libyan shores.