331 migrants rescued off Libyan coast in past week: IOM

SOS Mediterranee/ Anthony Jea A boat transporting migrants 34 nautic miles far from Libyan coasts. (FILE).

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) said on Monday that 331 migrants were rescued and returned to Libya in the past week.

“In the period of Jan. 22-28, 2023, 331 migrants were intercepted and returned to Libya,” IOM said in a statement.

The rescued migrants included 20 women and 35 children, it added.

So far this year, a total of 1,103 migrants were rescued and returned to Libya, while 17 died and 18 others went missing off the Libyan coast, IOM revealed.

In 2022, a total of 24,684 migrants were rescued and returned to Libya, the IOM revealed, adding 529 migrants died and 848 others went missing off the Libyan coast on the Central Mediterranean route.

Because of the insecurity and chaos in the country since the fall of late leader Muammar Gaddafi’s regime in 2011, many migrants, mostly Africans, chose to cross the Mediterranean Sea to European shores from Libya.

Rescued migrants usually end up inside overcrowded reception centers across Libya, despite repeated international calls to close those centers and release the migrants. ■

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