More than 200 illegal immigrants were rescued off the Libyan coast on Thursday, 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,” IOM tweeted.
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, IOM said.
“IOM reiterates its call to end returns to Libya. A safe disembarkation mechanism is needed,” IOM demanded.
Libya has become a preferred departure point for migrants hoping to cross the Mediterranean Sea toward European shores.
IOM has repeatedly said that Libya is not a safe port for immigrants’ disembarkation due to the deteriorating security condition in the country.
IOM estimates that there are currently 650,000 illegal immigrants in Libya, many of whom lack medical care and basic needs.