Over 20 illegal immigrants drown off Libyan coast: IOM

(Photo: Famagusta Gazette)

More than 20 illegal migrants have drowned off the Libyan coast, said the International Organization for Migration (IOM) on Tuesday.

“IOM staff report that over 20 migrants lost their lives at sea last night, off Libya,” the IOM tweeted.

“This new tragedy signals yet again the need for increased search and rescue capacity in the Mediterranean,” the IOM said.

Following the 2011 fall of the former leader Gaddafi’s regime, Libya has been plagued by a state of insecurity and chaos that encourages thousands of illegal migrants to attempt to cross the Mediterranean Sea into Europe.

According to the IOM, hundreds of migrants have died and others gone missing on the Central Mediterranean route so far in 2020.

In 2019, a total of 9,225 illegal migrants were rescued and returned to Libya, the IOM said, adding that 270 migrants died and 992 were missing on the Central Mediterranean route.

The IOM has repeatedly stressed that Libya is not a safe port for disembarkation of rescued migrants.