TRIPOLI, April 18 — Libyan coast guard on Tuesday rescued more than 200 illegal immigrants on two rubber boats off western coast, according to a local official.
“The department has received 204 illegal immigrants of nine African nationalities, including 71 women and 10 children, after they were rescued by a coast guard patrol and taken to Tripoli naval base,” Husni Abu-Ayana, media officer of Tripoli’s anti-illegal immigration department, told Xinhua.
The migrants were housed inside the department’s headquarters in Tripoli, Abu-Ayana said, noting that they were provided with first aid and accommodation services by the International Medical Corps.
Libya has become a preferred departure point for illegal immigrants hoping to cross the Mediterranean Sea into Europe due to insecurity and chaos in the North African country following the 2011 uprising that toppled former leader Muammar Gaddafi.
Improved weather conditions have increased the flow of migrant boats from Libya towards Europe, particularly off the country’s western coast.
According to official figures, the number of migrants rescued off Libyan coasts during the first quarter of 2018 is more than 4,000.