A shipwreck off Libya on Monday has left at least 14 people missing, four people dead, and just two people rescued. Nearly 500 migrants and refugees have died attempting to cross the Central Mediterranean so far this year.
"A wooden boat capsized yesterday off Surman, Libya with 20 migrants on board," UN migration agency IOM tweeted on Monday, April 11, on their IOM Libya account.
According to the IOM, two people were rescued from the shipwreck, four bodies were retrieved and 14 people are now missing. IOM did not specify by whom the two migrants were rescued.
Since the beginning of 2022, at least 475 people have died attempting to cross the Central Mediterranean, according to IOM's Missing Migrants project. Since 2014, more than 14,000 migrants have died in the Central Mediterranean area.
The Mediterranean monitoring organization Alarm Phone summed up the latest shipwrecks in a tweet on their page on Tuesday 12. "April 8, four people die, six go missing off Sfax, Tunisia. April 9, five people die, 11 go missing off Libya. April 9, four people die, 10 go missing off Sfax, Tunisia. April 11, four people die, 14 go missing off Libya," they wrote.
'Cruel cycle of violence'
The organization ended with a comment: "These are the dead of Europe’s borders!" On Monday, Alarm Phone posted a video announcing a forum where people can tune in to listen to the voices of "refugees in Libya." The forum will take place on April 13.
Above the video, Alarm Phone said that "countless refugees in Libya are trapped in a cruel cycle of violence." They added: "Over the past months, thousands have courageously protested in front of the office of the UNHCR in Libya. Their protests were violently suppressed by Libyan authorities – all the more important that we listen!"
On Monday, IOM published their maritime update regarding migrant activity in the area off Libya. In the period between April 3 and April 9, the Libyan coastguard reportedly rescued or intercepted 497 migrants at sea and returned them to Libya.
Returned to Libya
These numbers are part of almost 4,000 (3,968) migrants who have been returned to Libya since the beginning of the year. In 2021, the IOM says, 32,425 migrants were returned to Libya in this way. 891 were registered as missing and 662 were confirmed dead.
In 2022, according to the IOM Maritime Update, 3,424 adult male migrants and 122 minors, also male, were returned to Libya. For women, the IOM lists 375 adult women and 47 female minors as returned.
The incidents in April concerned six boats. The migrants on these boats were returned to four different ports at Azzawya, Almaya, Tripoli and Assider. On April 3, the Libyan coastguard reportedly retrieved three dead bodies and returned them to Azzawya. On the same day, four male migrants were found out at sea and returned to Assider.
On April 8, the Libyan coastguard reportedly stopped a boat with 120 male migrants and returned them to Almaya, and another boat with 217 migrants (including 15 women and three children), who were brought to Azzawya. On April 9, 84 men were returned to Azzawya after their boat was intercepted and another 72 migrants, including 12 women and 19 children, were returned to Tripoli after guards stopped their boat at sea.