Migrants and refugees from different African nationalities sailing adrift on an overcrowded rubber boat, receive life jackets…
Migrants and refugees of different African nationalities, sailing adrift on an overcrowded rubber boat, receive life jackets from aid workers of the Spanish NGO Open Arms in the Mediterranean Sea, off the Libyan coast, Jan. 10, 2020.

KHARTOUM, SUDAN - Two Eritrean asylum-seekers were shot dead in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, days after the U.N. refugee agency pressed them to leave its facility citing overcrowding.

The UNHCR confirmed the deaths in a statement Friday saying it's “deeply saddened” by the Thursday deaths in Tripoli.

Three refugees told The Associated Press that the men were among dozens forced out of the UNHCR-run Gathering and Departure Facility 10 days ago. The three spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution.

The facility was promoted as an “alternative to detention” but when the numbers of refugees increased, the U.N. offered money and pressed new arrivals to leave. The slain refugees were among those who accepted the money and left.

They were among thousands held in Libya’s detention centers where abuses are rampant. The country is a major waypoint for migrants fleeing war and poverty in Africa and the Middle East to Europe.