Libyan navy rescues more than 100 immigrants

FILE PHOTO: Migrants rescued in the Mediterranean. Photo: Johannes Filous/dpa (Photo by Johannes Filous/picture alliance via Getty Images)

The Libyan navy on Monday rescued more than 100 illegal immigrants off the country’s western coast.

“Coast guards rescued 108 immigrants on a rubber boat some 17 miles (27 km) off Sabratha coast,” some 75 km west of the capital Tripoli, navy spokesman Ayob Qassem told Xinhua.

The immigrants are of different Arab and African nationalities, Qassem said, adding that they included 13 women and eight children.

The immigrants have been handed over to the anti-illegal immigration department after receiving humanitarian and medical assistance, Qassem said.

Due to insecurity and chaos, Libya has become a preferred transit country for illegal immigrants trying to cross the Mediterranean to reach Europe, with many risking their lives on the way.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said last week that some 40 illegal immigrants were missing off Libya’s western coast.