More than 150 illegal migrants rescued off Libyan coast

Migrants stand on a dock as they disembark a boat on the Sicilian Island of Lampedusa, Italy July 24, 2020. REUTERS/Mauro Buccarello TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
31 August 2019, —: Around 100 migrants stand and lie tightly packed on deck of the rescue ship “Eleonore” in the early hours of the morning. The “Eleonore” took in the migrants on 26.08.2019 off the Libyan coast. The people were rescued while their boat was sinking, said Axel Steier, spokesman for the Dresden aid organisation Mission Lifeline, which supports the “Eleonore”. The ship continues to search for a safe haven. Photo: Johannes Filous/dpa (Photo by Johannes Filous/picture alliance via Getty Images)

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) said on Friday that more than 150 illegal migrants have been rescued off the Libyan coast.

“Over 150 migrants were intercepted and returned to Libya today by the coast guard,” the IOM said on Twitter.

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

The IOM estimates 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 end up detained inside overcrowded reception centers in Libya, despite repeated international calls for closing those centers