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Libyan locals give 'dignified end' to unidentified refugee victims

Many of those attempting to reach Europe from Africa or the Middle East by sea drown en route, with their bodies washing ashore on the Libyan coast, far away from their loved ones.

ZARZIS, Tunisia — For the Libyan coastal town of Zuwara, about 60 kilometers (37 miles) from the Tunisian border, people smuggling — a lucrative and widespread business — is starting to leave its marks. Here, on the city’s 85-kilometer strip of beach, the large number of corpses of washed-ashore refugees, who were hoping to reach Europe for a better life, is becoming increasingly disturbing for the city’s locals.

“People deserve a dignified end,” said one of Zuwara’s locals. Waled, who declined to reveal his real name for safety concerns, is the first person in the city to take care of the corpses that wash ashore. He can’t recount how many bodies he has witnessed thus far. “Too many,” he told Al-Monitor. Most of them are men between the ages of 20 and 35, from countries such as Sudan, Nigeria and Syria. It is impossible to estimate how many bodies he has buried; often, there are as many as two bodies per day, he said.

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