Seven migrant bodies taken out of the van after they suffocated. CREDIT: File photo

Seven African migrants suffocated in a van parked in Tripoli, on the road nearby Garabulli beach, a suburban area outside the Libyan capital, Tripoli Illegal Immigration Interception Department’s teams have revealed.

The van had been closed for two days, the teams’ members reported.

According to the Illegal Immigration Interception Department, the van was searched as it was seen parked on the road after a tip-off about it being loaded with illegal immigrants.

Twenty three other migrants, including five women, were also found inside the van in very inhumane conditions, suffocating from the lack of oxygen.

Libya has become the number one route to Europe for many African and sub-Saharan migrants, who are constantly taking the dangerous journey in the Mediterranean to reach Italy.

Meanwhile, 293 Nigerians were repatriated from Libya between January and May this year.

According to the figures released over the weekend by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) during a stakeholders roundtable on irregular migration and human trafficking in Lagos, more Nigerians are stranded in Libya.

Speaking during the forum organised by the Salesians of Don Bosco and VIS, retired IOM Consultant Winnie Aideyan, explained that more Nigerians were stranded outside the country having been deceived of a better life by human traffickers, according to the Vanguard website.

“Nigerians need to know that the grass is not greener on the other side. There is nothing wrong with travelling but people need to travel the correct way,” Aideyan said, according to Vanguard.

She said while calling on Nigerian youth to stop illegal migration: “Women need to be empowered so they will not be tempted by these traffickers.”