Over 200 illegal immigrants rescued off Libyan coast: IOM

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Tripoli, April 10 (IANS) More than 200 illegal immigrants were rescued off the Libyan coast, said the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

“200+ migrants were just returned to Libya. In the past few days, six boats carrying 500+ migrants departed from Libya. Most of them were returned by the coast guard,” the IOM tweeted on Thursday.
The rescued immigrants, including women and children, were still on the Libyan coast guard’s vessel and have not disembarked yet due to fighting in the area, Xinhua news agency quoted the IOM as saying.
“IOM reiterates its call to end returns to Libya. A safe disembarkation mechanism is needed,” it added.
Libya has become a preferred departure point for migrants hoping to cross the Mediterranean Sea towards European shores.
The IOM has repeatedly said that Libya was not a safe port for immigrants’ disembarkation due to the deteriorating security condition in the country.
The agency estimates that there are currently 650,000 illegal immigrants in Libya, many of whom lack medical care and basic needs.