Libyan coastguard intercepts 60 Europe-bound migrants

2017-03-27 21:58
(File, AP)

(File, AP)

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Tripoli - Libya's coastguard has intercepted 60 Bangladeshi migrants as they tried to cross the Mediterranean to Europe, a navy spokesperson said on Monday.

The migrants were on an inflatable boat off Sabratha, west of Tripoli, at dawn on Sunday when the coastguard intercepted them, General Ayoub Qassem said.

"The migrants were brought back to shore, to the port of Zawiya, and handed over to authorities in charge of illegal migration after being seen by medics," he said.

Six years since a revolution that toppled dictator Moammar Gaddaafi, Libya has become a key departure point for migrants making perilous attempts to cross the Mediterranean to Europe.

Most board boats operated by people traffickers in the country's west, heading for the Italian island of Lampedusa 300km away.

Despite rough winter seas, in recent months departures have surged from already record levels.

More than half a million migrants, mostly from Africa, made it to Italy between late 2013 and the end of 2016.

On Sunday, aid groups said patrol boats had rescued 1 000 migrants overnight off Libya.

More than 250 Africans were feared drowned off the North African country on Thursday.

Read more on:    libya  |  north africa

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