Libyan authorities say the bodies of 40 refugees have been found on the North African country’s shores, as more asylum seekers risk their lives to make their way into Europe.
According to Libya’s Red Crescent spokesman, Mohamed al-Masrati, 27 of the bodies washed ashore on Saturday in the town of Zliten, east of the capital, Tripoli, while the rest were found along the shores of Tripoli and the nearby town of Khoms.
Most of the refugees were said to be from sub-Saharan African countries attempting to enter European states by setting off from Libya.
Masrati added that rescue teams are searching for another 30 asylum seekers who are believed to be on the boat that turned over.
In early October, some 100 refugees drowned in the Mediterranean Sea and their bodies washed ashore in Libya.
In recent months, thousands of refugees, mostly from Africa and the Middle East, have fled war and chaos in their home countries in order to gain entry into wealthier European countries.
Many bodies belonging to asylum seekers have washed up on the shores of Libya, Greece, and Turkey.
A number of EU member states, such as Hungary, have so far closed their borders or suspended crossing points to stem the refugee influx to Europe.
Thousands of refugees have so far cast off from Libya on rickety boats. The country has been grappling with violence and political uncertainty since its former dictator, Muammar Gaddafi, was deposed in the 2011 uprising.
The International Organization for Migration says more than 600,000 asylum seekers have landed on Europe’s shores since January, while over 3,000 have died or gone missing trying to reach Europe.