News ID: 257505
Published: 0511 GMT August 18, 2019

Libyan navy rescues more than 300 migrants

Libyan navy rescues more than 300 migrants

The Libyan navy said Sunday 335 migrants had been rescued and one body recovered in separate operations off the coast, as they tried to cross the Mediterranean to reach Europe.

Nine children were among 57 migrants in a wooden boat rescued Saturday about 40 nautical miles from the town of Zuwara, west of Tripoli, navy spokesman General Ayoub Kacem told AFP.

He said they were from Ethiopia and Egypt, Presstv Reported.

It came days after Libyan navy patrols on Tuesday "rescued 278 migrants on board four inflatable boats northwest and northeast of Tripoli", Kacem added.

The operations took place off the coasts of the cities of Khoms, 120 kilometers (75 miles) east of Tripoli, and Sabratha, located 70 kilometers west of the capital.

According to the statement, 128 Sudanese were in the boats, in addition to migrants from Chad, Egypt, Niger, Benin and Eritrea, including 35 women and 11 children.

One body was also recovered by the coastguard.

Libya, which has been wracked by chaos since the 2011 uprising that killed dictator Muammar Gaddafi, has long been a major transit route for migrants, especially from sub-Saharan Africa.

In general, migrants rescued at sea are first met by humanitarian agencies that provide medical care and food.

They are then taken into the charge of the body working to combat immigration at the interior ministry of the UN-recognized Government of National Accord.

On August 9, the Libyan navy accused the authorities of failing to manage migrants rescued at sea, claiming that it could be forced to let people go free once brought back to land.

Despite the risks, migrants continue to attempt to reach Europe by sea, preferring to take their chances than stay in Libya, where they are subject to abuse, extortion and torture, according to humanitarian organizations.

Turkey seizes 330 migrants attempting to cross to Greek island

Turkish authorities have seized a total of 330 migrants attempting to cross to the Greek island of Lesbos, officials said on Sunday.

The coastguard in the Kucukkuyu area of the western Canakkale province said it had conducted seven operations to pick up migrants trying to make the crossing since Saturday evening.

The migrants seized were Afghan, Syrian, and Iraqi nationals, it said, adding that the number attempting to cross to Lesbos had surged recently and that 699 people had been seized since Aug. 10.

Mediterranean arrivals into the European Union, including migrants making the longer and more perilous crossing from north Africa to Italy, totaled 172,301 in 2017, down from 362,753 in 2016 and over a million in 2015, according to UN data.

Numbers declined sharply since 2015 after Turkey, in exchange for 3 billion euros ($3.3 billion) in European Union aid and a promise to ease visa restrictions for Turks, began to exert more control on migrants trying to cross to the EU via its territory.

Yet many still attempt the short but perilous sea trip and Turkey remains one of the main launch points.

 
   
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