The International Organization for Migration (IOM) said on Monday that more than 500 illegal migrants have been rescued off the Libyan coast in the past week.
“In the period of 22-28 September, 517 migrants were rescued/intercepted at sea and returned to Libya,” IOM said.
The organization also said that 9,448 illegal migrants, including women and children, have been rescued and returned to Libya so far this year, compared with 9,225 in 2019.
The state of insecurity and chaos in Libya has encouraged thousands of migrants to cross the Mediterranean Sea towards European shores.
The IOM has repeatedly stressed that Libya is not a safe disembarkation point.
The agency has been running the Assisted Voluntary Return program that arranges the return of illegal migrants stranded in Libya back to their countries of origin.