172 illegal migrants rescued off Libyan coast

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Migrants are seen as they are rescued by Libyan coast guards in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Libya, January 15, 2018. REUTERS/Hani Amara

Libya’s Coast Guard rescued 172 illegal migrants in two separate operations off the country’s western coast, said the Libyan Navy on Wednesday.

Migrants are seen as they are rescued by Libyan coast guards, in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Libya, January 15, 2018. Photograph: Hani Amara/Reuters

The migrants were on their way to Europe when the Coast Guard patrol received a distress call and immediately headed to the location to rescue them, the navy said.

The migrants were disembarked at the capital Tripoli’s Naval Base and then handed over to the anti-illegal immigration department.

The department will look after the migrants and complete the procedures for their safe deportation back to their countries of origin, the navy added.

Libya has been suffering insecurity and chaos since the fall of late leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, making the North African country a preferred point of departure for illegal migrants who want to cross the Mediterranean Sea to European shores.

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