Libya’s coast guard intercepts 284 Europe-bound migrants

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Libya’s coast guard says it has intercepted 284 Europe-bound migrants off the country’s Mediterranean coast.

Saturday’s statement says the migrants were intercepted in four separate operations off the coastal towns of Zawya, Garabulli and Abu-Kemmash, and the city of Tripoli. The four boats were stopped on Wednesday.

The statement says the migrants were handed over to authorities in Tripoli and were taken to detention centers.

Libya has emerged as a major transit point for migrants fleeing war and poverty to Europe.

RELATED: Malta has deal with Libya coastguard over migrant interceptions: Report

In recent years, the EU has partnered with Libya’s coast guard and other local groups to stem the dangerous sea crossings.

Rights groups, however, say those policies leave migrants at the mercy of armed groups or confined in squalid detention centers rife with abuses.

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