BENGHAZI, Libya (Reuters) - Libyan aid workers recovered the bodies of 19 migrants believed to be Egyptians in Libya’s eastern desert, a Red Crescent spokesman said on Sunday.
The migrants appeared to have been smuggled into Libya by foot and have perished due to high temperatures and hunger, said Khaled al-Raqi, a Red Crescent spokesman in the east Libyan city of Tobruk.
They were found on Saturday more than 400 km (250 miles) south of Tobruk, in the Jaghboub desert, Raqi said. Seven of the migrants were identified from papers or identity cards, and the rest were thought to be Egyptian from their appearance, he said.
The seven came from Assiuyt and Minya, areas on the River Nile south of Cairo, and from Kafr el Sheikh, in the Nile Delta north of Cairo.
Libyan television station Libya Alaan broadcast footage of Libyan Red Crescent workers offloading bodies from the back of a truck into black body bags.
Egyptian migrants have tried to cross to Europe from the African coast, particularly from Libya, though boats have also increasingly departed from Egypt. Most Libyan smugglers sending migrants by sea towards Europe do so from western Libya.
Many Egyptians and migrants of other nationalities also work in Libya, though fewer than in the past.
The Egyptian embassy to Libya, which is currently based in Cairo, said it was working with the Libyan authorities to repatriate the seven migrants confirmed to be Egyptian, and to check the identities of the other 12 migrants.
Reporting by Ayman al-Warfalli in Benghazi, and Lisa Barrington and Amina Ismail in Cairo; Writing by Aidan Lewis; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle