Geneva – Six migrants were killed and at least 24 others injured at the Mabani detention centre in Tripoli when armed guards started shooting following a riot and an attempted escape, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said today.

IOM condemns Friday’s senseless killing and the use of live rounds against migrants protesting the appalling conditions in detention.  Before the shootings, more than 3,400 migrants, including 356 women and 144 children, were detained in the overcrowded Mabani centre. Many had been arrested during the raids last week in the Gergaresh neighbourhood and were arbitrarily detained. 

“The use of excessive force and violence often resulting in death is a regular occurrence in Libyan detention centres,” says IOM Libya Chief of Mission Federico Soda.

“Some of our staff who witnessed this incident describe injured migrants in a pool of blood lying on the ground. We are devastated by this tragic loss of life.”

One doctor and a nurse contracted by IOM were at the detention centre giving regular medical check-ups and assistance when the riot broke out and several migrants tried to escape. 

IOM teams took four of the injured migrants to a private clinic and 11 others to the local hospital. They are still in Mabani providing emergency medical assistance. 

More than 1,000 migrants at this detention centre had requested IOM’s Voluntary Humanitarian Return Assistance and have been waiting for months following a unilateral and unjustified decision by the Directorate for Combatting Illegal Migration (DCIM) to suspend humanitarian flights from the country.

IOM calls on Libyan authorities to stop using excessive force, end arbitrary detention and immediately resume the flights to allow migrants to leave.

There are nearly 10,000 men, women and children trapped in grim conditions in official detention facilities which have limited and often restricted access for humanitarian workers.

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Mr. Sainey M.K. Marenah is a Prominent Gambian journalist, founding editor The Alkamba Times and formerly head of communications at the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) and Communications and PR Consultant for The Gambia Pilot Program, under Gamworks. Mr. Marenah served as the Social media Strategist and Editor at Gambia Radio and Television Services. He is also the Banjul Correspondent for Voice of America Radio. Sainey is a human rights and developmental journalist who has carved a strong niche particularly in new media environments in the Gambian media industry. Mr. Marenah began his career as a junior reporter with the Point Newspaper in the Gambia in 2008 and rose through the ranks to become Chief correspondent before moving to The Standard Newspaper also in Banjul as Editorial Assistant and head of News. He is a household name in the Gambia’s media industry having covered some of the most important stories in the former and current government. These include the high profile treason cases including the Trial of Former military chiefs in Banjul in 2009 to 2012. Following his arrest and imprisonment by the former regime of President, Yahya Jammeh in 2014, Marenah moved to Dakar Senegal where he continues to practice Journalism freelancing for various local and international Media organization’s including the BBC, Al-Jazeera, VOA, and ZDF TV in Germany among others. He is the co-Founder of the Banjul Based Media Center for Research and Development; an institution specialized in research and development undertakings. As a journalist and Communication Expert, focused on supporting the Gambia's transitional process, Mr Marenah continues to play a pivotal role in shaping a viable media and communications platform that engages necessary tools and action to increase civic participation and awareness of the needs of transitional governance to strengthen the current move towards democratization. Mr. Marenah has traveled extensively as a professional journalist in both Europe, Africa and United States and attended several local and international media trainings.

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