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Libya intercepts 850 migrants in inflatable rubber boats

Libya intercepts 850 migrants in inflatable rubber boats

Libya

Libya has intercepted several boats carrying hundreds of migrants trying to reach Europe.

On Sunday, Libyan coastguards impeded about 850 migrants off the coast near the western city of Sabratha.

According to a spokesman of Libya’s naval forces, the migrants were from different parts of the continent. The migrants were using inflatable rubber boats to travel across the Mediterranean.

Among those intercepted were 79 women including 11 who are reported to be pregnant.

The North African country is a major departure point for migrants who are seeking a better life. Last week, Libyan officials detained over 100 migrants.

The International Organisation for Migration says the number of migrants in Libya could rise from 700,000 to a million this year. So far, the organisation has identified more than 200,000.

Recently, the European Union Committee charged with overseeing the end of migrant smuggling in the Mediterranean said it is proving to be a difficult task.

In June 2015, the EU launched an operation dubbed Sophia aimed at curbing migrant inflows. This was necessitated after a series of disasters in which hundreds of migrants drowned while trying to cross from Libya to Italy.

Reuters