Libyan navy recovers 11 bodies, rescues 283 migrants

Li Jiayao
Illegal migrants sit on the ground at a naval base after being rescued by Libyan navy in Tripoli, Libya, on April 22, 2018. Libyan navy on Sunday recovered bodies of 11 migrants and rescued 83 others off the coast of the western city of Sabratha, according to navy spokesman. (Xinhua/Hamza Turkia)

TRIPOLI, April 23 (Xinhua) -- The Libyan navy said Sunday that it has recovered the bodies of 11 migrants and rescued 283 others off the country's western coast in separate operations.

"A coast guard patrol recovered the bodies of 11 illegal migrants and rescued 83 others who were on a rubber boat about 5 miles (8 km) off Sabratha coast," spokesman Ayob Qassem told Xinhua.

"The boat broke down when (the patrol) reached it," Qassem added.

He said the rescued migrants were of African nationalities and were taken to the oil port city of al-Zawiya, some 45 km west of the capital Tripoli, at 13:00 local time (1100 GMT).

The spokesman also said that another coast guard patrol rescued 200 migrants, including 38 children, off the coast of Zliten city, some 150 km east of Tripoli.

"The migrants are of African and Asian nationalities, and were transferred to the Tripoli naval base," Qassem said.

Following the 2011 uprising that toppled former leader Muammar Gaddafi, Libya became the main departure point for migrants who wanted to cross the Mediterranean to reach Europe, due to chaos in the country.

According to official statistics, more than 4,000 migrants were rescued off Libya's coast in the first quarter of 2018.


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