Five hundred plus migrants picked up by Libya coastguard


Libya’s coastguard collected 574 migrants from inflatable boats in three operations off the North African country’s coast, naval forces spokesman Ayoub Qassem said.

He said the migrants included 388 men, 66 women and 19 children. Two boats were picked up near Zawiya and one off Qarabulli, Qassem said, adding the migrants came from sub-Saharan and Arab countries.
“All illegal migrants were brought to Tripoli’s Abu Sitah naval base and then handed to Illegal Migration Department,” he said.

Libya’s western coast is the main departure point for thousands of migrants trying to reach Europe as they flee wars and poverty. The number of crossings dropped sharply since July 2017 when an armed group expelled a network of human traffickers from a smuggling hub of Sabratha west of Tripoli.