6 migrants dead, dozens rescued off Libya coast

International Desk
28 June 2020, Sun
Published: 08:34 Updated: 11:34

6 migrants dead, dozens rescued off Libya coast

A woman who gave birth at sea was among 93 migrants rescued off Libyan shores as they tried to reach Europe, but six others died along the way, the UN's migration agency said Saturday.

The survivors were brought back overnight to the port city of Khoms, 120 kilometres west of the capital Tripoli, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said on Twitter.

"Among them was a woman who gave birth on the rubber dinghy" that had undertaken the perilous Mediterranean crossing, it said.

"Migrants reported to IOM staff that 6 people have died along the journey," it added.

Libya was thrown into chaos after the overthrow and killing of veteran dictator Muammar Gaddafi in a NATO-backed uprising in 2011.

Traffickers have exploited the unrest to turn the North African country into a key route for illicit migration towards Europe.

Human rights groups have repeatedly criticised the systematic return of migrants intercepted in the Mediterranean to Libya, where they are held in crowded detention centres.

The IOM said those rescued overnight were released after disembarking in Khoms.

The latest operation came just days after French charity boat Ocean Viking, picked up dozens of migrants, including 31 Pakistanis, off the Italian island of Lampedusa after they had drifted from Libya.

The Ocean Viking, he said, was some 153 nautical miles away from the stricken boat when it received a distress signal.

More than 100,000 migrants tried to cross the Mediterranean last year with more than 1,200 dying in the attempt, according to the IOM. Source: alaraby.co.uk