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13 Migrants Found Suffocated in Libyan Shipping Container


FILE - Refugees and migrants rest aboard the Golfo Azurro, a Spanish rescue ship, after being found off the Libyan coast, early in the morning, Feb. 23, 2017.

Bodies of 13 African migrants have been found inside a shipping container in western Libya.

Officials of the Red Crescent in Libya said the victims appeared to have been locked inside the container for several days while being transported to a coastal town. The victims included a girl, 13, and a 14-year-old boy.

Another 56 people were rescued alive from the container, some suffering from serious injuries and fractures. Aid workers said many of the migrants were from Mali.

Libya has become the main gateway for migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean to Europe. A record 181,000 migrants reached Italy along the route last year.

On Wednesday, about 750 migrants, most from sub-Saharan Africa, were rescued off the Libyan coast after seven rescue operations mounted by the Italian coast guard and an international aid group.

People smugglers have taken advantage of the chaos gripping Libya, since its 2011 revolution that toppled and killed dictator Moammar Gadhafi, to boost their lucrative trade.

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