Libya intercepts 117 Europe-bound migrants

Migrants, who attempted to flee the Libyan coast to head to Europe, are seen after being detained at the fishing port in the coastal city of Tripoli, Libya. (Reuters)

Libya’s coast guard on Tuesday intercepted 117 migrants on a boat bound for Europe, including six pregnant women, before taking them back ashore, an official said.

The group had set out from a beach near Garabulli, a town about 60 km (40 miles) to the east of Tripoli, said Col. Ashraf al-Badri.

More than 10,000 people have died crossing the Mediterranean to Europe since 2014, the United Nations said on Tuesday, as the European Union unveiled fresh plans to stem the migrant flow from Africa.

Those intercepted on Tuesday were received by medics in Tripoli, before they were taken to accommodations in the center of the Libyan capital.

“The 117 migrants, including six pregnant women, were intercepted off Garabulli and brought to a port in Tripoli by the coast guard’s speedboats,” Badri told AFP.

Badri did not disclose their nationality, but an AFP photographer said most were of African origin.

Following a rash of deadly shipwrecks in recent weeks which claimed the lives of hundreds of people, the UN refugee agency said the number of deaths at sea had risen sharply this year, with a record 2,814 people drowning since January.

And in the past few days, the overall number who have died since the start of 2014 has reached 10,085, the UNHCR said.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:48 - GMT 06:48
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