The foreign minister of Libya’s internationally recognised government condemned “death smugglers” who organised the doomed voyage to Europe across the Mediterranean Sea that left an estimated 800 dead in a shipwreck.
“The migrants left from areas under the control of militias. We condemn the acts of these death smugglers,” Mohamed al-Dayri told AFP in a telephone interview from Indonesia, where he is attending an Asia-Africa summit.
Leaders in Europe and Africa have highlighted the chaos in Libya and the lack of a stable security infrastructure – including the Libyan coastguard – as providing a safe haven for traffickers, who lure migrants from all over Africa hoping to make the perilous boat journey to Europe.
Libya has been rend by conflict since the 2011 uprising that toppled and killed dictator Moamer Kadhafi, with rival governments and parliaments and armed groups now battling to control its cities and oil wealth.
Several jihadist groups in Libya have also pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group which has seized chunks of Syria and Iraq. Dayri condemned the killing of at least 28 Christian Ethiopians by IS, which released a video of their execution in Libya on Sunday.
He said the solution to such crimes was to “form a national unity government, which is more urgent than ever.”
Libya has an elected parliament and an internationally recognised government based in the far eastern city of Tobruk, as well as a rival government and legislature backed by Islamists in Tripoli.
Dayri urged the international community to put pressure on Tripoli delegates taking part in UN-led peace talks in Skhirat in Morocco to form a unity government.