Libyan coastguard stops 850 refugees at sea

Libyan coastguards intercept seven vessels carrying hundreds of African refugees trying to reach Europe

Libyan coastguard stops 850 refugees at sea

World Bulletin / News Desk

Libyan coastguards intercepted about 850 refugees on Sunday off the coast near the western city of Sabratha, a spokesman said.

Ayoub Qassem said that the refugees were from various African countries and among them were 79 women, including 11 who were pregnant, as well as 11 children. They were traveling in inflatable rubber boats.

"The refugees were handed over to the authorities for transfer to shelters," he said.

The chaos in the North African country since Muammar Kaddafi's fall in 2011 has been exploited by people traffickers, with thousands of refugees trying to reach Europe from Libya just 300 kilometres from Italy.

Libya is a major departure point for mainly sub-Saharan African refugees trying to reach Europe through crossings arranged by people smugglers. Refugees are often given flimsy boats that are ill-equipped for traveling across the Mediterranean.

More than 30,000 have already crossed on the central Mediterranean route to Italy this year, and more are expected to attempt the journey in calmer weather during the summer.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 23 Mayıs 2016, 11:48