The Libyan navy on Saturday rescued 252 migrants seeking to reach Europe, in two separate operations off the country’s western coast.
“We were alerted… to the position of a migrant boat” around 30km off Zawiya, west of Tripoli, navy captain Rami al-Hadi Ghomed said.
He said the 140 migrants on board, including 14 women and four children, were brought back to Tripoli’s naval base before being transferred to a detention centre.
Since the 2011 fall and killing of longtime dictator Moammar Gaddafi, unruly Libya has become a key launch pad for migrants making desperate bids to reach Europe, often on unseaworthy vessels.
To save money to pay smugglers for the crossing, some migrants stay and work in Libya – such as Sunday Adeleghe, a 42-year-old Nigerian father of four.
He was among those who tried their luck on the boat rescued off Zawiya.