Libyan Navy rescues 135 immigrants off western coast

Li Jiayao

TRIPOLI, Jan. 8 (Xinhua) -- Libyan Navy on Monday announced that 135 illegal immigrants were rescued off the coast of the western city of Garrabulli.

The immigrants, including 54 women and three children, were found on a rubber boat off Garrabulli coast, some 60 km east of the capital Tripoli, Libyan Navy said in a statement.

The immigrants, who are of African and Asian nationalities, were taken to Tripoli naval base to be transferred to a reception center, it said.

Earlier on Sunday, Navy spokesman Ayob Qassem told Xinhua that 297 illegal immigrants on two rubber boats were rescued and two bodies were recovered off Garrabulli coast.

Meanwhile, Libya's Anti-illegal Immigration Department said Monday that 252 immigrants from Nigeria were repatriated voluntarily to their home country, with the assistance of the International Organization for Migration.

The voluntary repatriation program is organized by the organization for stranded immigrants in Libya.

The organization recently announced that 19,000 immigrants were repatriated voluntarily from Libya to their countries of origins in 2017.

Due to insecurity and chaos following the 2011 uprising that toppled former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's regime, Libya has become a preferred point of departure for the immigrants, mostly Africans, who hope to reach Europe by crossing the Mediterranean Sea.


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