Over 800 migrants intercepted off Libya’s coast in 24 hours: UN

Dozens of migrants from different nationalities, mainly Somalia, Egypt and Morocco, including 14 minors and 4 women, wait to be assisted by a team of aid workers of the Spanish NGO Open Arms, after spending more than 20 hours at sea when fleeing Libya on board a precarious wooden boat, in international waters, in the Central Mediterranean sea, Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020. (AP Photo/Santi Palacios)

The UN-affiliated International Organization for Migration (IOM) said on Friday that more than 800 unauthorized migrants had been intercepted at sea and returned to Libya in 24 hours.

“In 24 hours, more than 1,000 migrants departed from Libya, fleeing dire humanitarian conditions. Over 800 of them were intercepted and returned to shore,” the IOM tweeted.

“While IOM teams continue to provide assistance at disembarkation points, we maintain that Libya is not a safe port,” IOM said.

Thousands of illegal 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 overthrow of former leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

In 2020, 323 migrants died and 417 others went missing on the Central Mediterranean route, while 11,891 illegal immigrants were rescued and returned to Libya, according to the IOM.