Nearly 140 migrants intercepted off Libyan coast: UNHCR

About 100 migrants are crowded together on deck of the rescue ship "Eleonore". The "Eleonore" took in the migrants on 26.08.2019 off the Libyan coast./ Getty Images)

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on Wednesday said that nearly 140 migrants had been rescued off Libya’s western coast.

FILE PHOTO: Migrants crowded together on the deck of a rescue ship off the Libyan coast. (Getty Images)

“Nearly 140 persons aboard 2 boats have been intercepted/rescued by Libyan Coast Guard and returned to Tripoli. UNHCR and partner IRC (International Rescue Committee) are providing assistance and medical care to all survivors,” UNHCR tweeted.

It reiterated that Libya is not a safe port for refugees to disembark at.

Thousands of immigrants, mostly Africans, choose to cross the Mediterranean from Libya towards Europe, due to the state of insecurity and chaos in the North African nation following the fall of its leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

Last year, 323 migrants died and 417 others went missing on the Central Mediterranean route, while 11,891 more were rescued and returned to Libya, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

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