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Libya’s coast guard detains hundreds of migrants

By ANA - May 27,2020 - Last updated at May 27,2020

Libya’s coast guard has intercepted 400 Europe-bound migrants off the country’s Mediterranean coast over the past two days (AFP photo)

CAPE TOWN — Libya’s coast guard intercepted 400 Europe-bound migrants off the country’s Mediterranean coast over the past two days, after which the migrants were brought to detention centres near the capital, Tripoli, reported broadcaster Al Jazeera.

About 1,000 migrants have attempted to traverse the dangerous Mediterranean Sea crossing this month, said Al Jazeera.

A spokesperson for the UN's International Organisation for Migration , Safa Msehli, said in a tweet: “As more migrants embark on the most dangerous sea crossing trying to flee Libya, and in the absence of dedicated search-and-rescue vessels, the risk of invisible shipwrecks increases.”

On Twitter, the UN Refugee Agency  in Libya said the coast guard returned to Tripoli 315 migrants who were intercepted and rescued at sea aboard several boats.

The agency also confirmed the death of two people, whose bodies were recovered at sea.

UNHCR Libya confirmed that it had partnered with the International Rescue Committee and they were on site to provide urgent medical care to all survivors.

Msehli added that departures from Libya have increased, which is especially worrying amid a sharp decrease in search-and-rescue capacity, reported Al Jazeera.

As global calls mount for a humanitarian ceasefire to take place in Libya so that the country can focus on the coronavirus pandemic, fighting continues unabated between the two rival administrations seeking to control the seat of power in Tripoli.

Recently, Libya’s UN-recognised Government of National Accord recaptured a key airbase in the south of Tripoli from Khalifa Haftar's Libyan National Army. Thousands have been displaced and scores have been killed as weeks of fighting continue in the oil-rich nation.

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