At least five African migrants are dead and 15 injured, after guards at a detention centre in Zawiya, Libya, opened fire during a mass escape attempt on Saturday morning, a Malta-based non-governmental organization said.
Migrant Report director Mark Micallef told dpa that a large group of migrants attempted to escape before a confrontation started between some of the fleeing migrants and guards from the Al Nasser militia, who are also responsible for guarding a nearby refinery.
"We don’t know how it happened yet but at one point there was gunfire. It didn’t last long but at least five migrants are dead and 15 are injured," Micallef said.
The two security sources Micallef was citing gave contradictory statements about whether the migrants had been armed during their escape attempt.
The detention centre in the coastal town of Zawiya is severely overcrowded with thousands of migrants, who were mostly arrested or intercepted at sea this year.
"The conditions are terrible, severe overcrowding, no proper sanitation or proper medical facilities - it's disastrous," Micallef said.
Migrant Report is an NGO which carries out research on migratory flows and smuggling networks.