Libya has rescued more than 1,500 would-be migrants off its west coast in the past week, a non-governmental organization said.
“The Libyan coastguard has conducted several rescue operations from a week ago until (Wednesday) and rescued about 1,500 people,” Adel al-Idrissi from the International Rescue Committee told AFP.
On Wednesday alone, 240 African migrants were rescued from two boats off the port city of Al-Khums, said Lieutenant-Colonel Mohammed Abdel Aali of the coastguard.
“We encountered difficulties in getting the (migrants from the first boat) on board,” but the second group “showed less opposition,” he said.
For all the latest headlines follow our Google News channel online or via the app.
Migrants intercepted off the Libyan coast object to being returned to the country, preferring to wait for humanitarian rescue ships.
Libya, which descended into chaos following the 2011 uprising that toppled and killed longtime dictator Muammar Gaddafi, has emerged as a major transit point for African and Arab migrants fleeing war and poverty to Europe.
International agencies frequently denounce the return to Libya of migrants intercepted at sea due to the chaotic situation in the country and poor conditions in detention centers.
Over 40 Europe-bound migrants killed in shipwreck off Libya: UN
Italy could have saved 200 drowning migrants, says UN committee
Hundreds of migrants rescued off Libya coast: French NGO
Veronica Alfonsi, a spokeswoman for the Spanish aid ship Open Arms, confirmed to AFP on Wednesday that around 200 people had been returned to Libya.
“Men, women and children taken back to Libya against their will,” the charity’s founder Oscar Camps said on Twitter.
More than 1,200 migrants and asylum-seekers died while crossing the Mediterranean in 2020, according to the International Organization for Migration.
UK offers COVID-19 vaccine to undocumented migrantsBritish officials have extended an invitation for undocumented migrants to register for the COVID-19 vaccine, a move that will not jeopardize their ... Coronavirus
French patrol boat rescues 36 migrants ‘in difficulty’ in ChannelFrench patrol boat rescued 36 migrants aboard two boats “in difficulty” in the Channel, seeking to cross to Britain, maritime authorities said ... World News
Over 800 EU-bound Libyan migrants intercepted by navy: UN agencyHundreds of Europe-bound migrants were intercepted in the Mediterranean sea off Libya’s coasts and taken into detention over the last 24 hours, the UN ... North Africa
Italy could have saved 200 drowning migrants, says UN committeeItaly failed to protect the right to life of more than 200 migrants on a boat that sank in the Mediterranean Sea in 2013, the UN Human Rights ... World News