More than 200 illegal migrants rescued off Libyan coast: UNHCR

Mediterranean Sea. Rescue operation 20 miles of the coasts of Libya,Fabrizio/Getty Images
Mediterranean Sea. Rescue operation 20 miles of the coasts of Libya. (Photo by Fabrizio Villa “2013 Getty Images)”

More than 200 illegal migrants, including women and children, have been rescued off Libyan coast, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said Saturday.

“Over 200 persons were brought to Tripoli by the Libyan Coast Guard, among them 9 women and 3 children,” the agency tweeted.

“UNHCR and partner IRC (International Rescue Committee) are providing relief items and medical aid to all survivors,” the commissioner said.

The Libyan navy said it recovered the body of one undocumented migrant during Saturday’s rescue operation, adding that some migrants have escaped after they were rescued and returned to Libya.

Due to insecurity and chaos in the North African nation following the overthrow of its leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, thousands of undocumented migrants chose to cross the Mediterranean from Libya towards Europe.

The International Organization for Migration estimated that in 2020, 323 migrants died and 417 others went missing on the Central Mediterranean route, while 11,891 illegal migrants were rescued and returned to Libya.

Many illegal migrants who were either rescued at sea or arrested by the authorities remain detained in overcrowded reception centers in Libya, despite international calls to close those centers.