Libyan army arrests more than 100 illegal immigrants

Picture showing the shipwreck of an overcrowded boat of migrants off the Libyan coast (Getty Images)

Libya’s eastern-based army confirmed that it arrested more than 100 illegal immigrants in the northeastern city of Tobruk.

A total of 43 immigrants were arrested in southern Tubrok during a patrol, the army said, adding that another patrol discovered 60 more of them. Tubruk is located near the Egyptian border, a smuggling hotspot.

In October last year, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) said that there were more than 600,000 illegal immigrants in Libya, from 41 different nationalities.

“In July and August 2018, IOM identified at least 669,176 migrants in Libya. Migrants were identified in 100 municipalities, within 554 communities,” IOM said.

The top five nationalities of the immigrants were identified to be from; Niger, Egypt, Chad and Nigeria.

Libya has become a preferred departure point for illegal migrants 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 flows of illegal immigrants recently.