No fewer than 44 migrants have died with over 100 others wounded following an airstrike which hit a detention centre near the Libyan capital Tripoli on Wednesday morning.
Two migrants who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal said the airstrike hit a workshop housing weapons and vehicles and an adjacent hangar where around 150 migrants were being held.
The UNHCR refugee agency had already called in May for the Tajoura centre, which holds 600 people, to be evacuated after a projectile landed less than 100 metres (330 feet) away, injuring two migrants.
UN has condemned the airstrike, calling for an immediate end to efforts to return migrants to Libya.
Head of the African Union, Moussa Faki Mahamat has also called for an independent investigation and said those responsible for the “horrific crime” should be held to account.
Tripoli blames Khalifa Hafter’s Libyan National Army for the attack. Hafter’s forces, which control much of Libya’s east and south forces, have targeted militia positions in Tajoura with airstrikes in recent weeks.
Libya is one of the main departure points for African migrants, fleeing poverty and war, to try to reach Italy by boat, but many are picked up and brought back by the Libyan coast guard, supported by the European Union.
Thousands are held in government-run detention centres in what human rights groups and the United Nations say are often inhuman conditions.