483 illegal migrants rescued off Libyan coast: UN migration agency

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TRIPOLI, March 28 (Xinhua) — The International Organization for Migration (IOM) on Sunday said that 483 illegal migrants have been rescued off Libya’s western coast.

The illegal migrants were rescued in two separate operations by the Libyan Coast Guard, the UN migration agency said.

“While IOM teams were there to provide emergency assistance, including medical support, we maintain that Libya is not a safe port,” it said.

The agency estimated that more than 4,500 illegal migrants were intercepted or rescued so far this year off Libyan coast and ended up in arbitrary detention.

Libya has become a preferred point of departure for thousands of immigrants who attempt to cross the Mediterranean Sea to reach European shores, in order to escape insecurity and chaos that have plagued Libya since the fall of its former leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

In 2020, a total of 11,891 illegal migrants were rescued and returned to Libya, the agency estimated, adding that 381 migrants died and 597 went missing on the central Mediterranean route during the same period.

Rescued migrants end up inside overcrowded reception centers across Libya, despite repeated international calls to close those centers. Enditem

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