Bodies of two small children and a woman were reportedly left lying dead on a beach in Libya after they drowned in the Mediterranean trying to make their way to Europe.
Numerous local reports repeated claims by a local NGO that after the bodies washed up on the beach they were left days decomposing in the hot sun, slowly being covered by sand.
The images, which were taken on a beach in the Libyan city of Zuwara on Saturday (22nd May), were later posted on Twitter by Oscar Camps who is one of the founders of the Spanish NGO ‘Open Arms’
Camps wrote on Twitter: “We are still in shock. These small children and this women had dreams and ambitions”.
He claimed that the bodies had spent over three days on the beach when the picture was taken.
However, under his post the journalist Nancy Porsia who covers Libya wrote: “Bodies on #Zwara shores WERE NOT LEFT there for three days. This is a misunderstanding. My contact found them on the shore last Saturday, immediately informed security directorate and within the day military personnel recovered the corpses and buried them in Abu Qamash cemetery.”
Italian news outlet La Stampa also reported that the bodies had been recovered by the Libyan military and buried at a local cemetery.
How the three people died is unclear although one theory is that they drowned after a migrant ship sank in the Mediterranean last Tuesday night (18th May) which according to the International Organization of Migrants (IOM) resulted in over 50 people going missing.
Oscar stated that regardless of how or why these people died: “Europe will have to answer for these crimes.”
The IOM found that between the 16th-22nd of May alone 1,500 migrants were stopped on their way to Europe by the Libyan coast guard and returned to Tripoli. The IOM added that the number of people making the journey is likely to increase during the summer months.
The European Union and the UK government have often faced scrutiny for working closely with the Libyan coast guard as countless reports have emerged of migrants being tortured and killed after they are returned to Libya.