Libyan coast guard stops more than a thousand migrants in one week

The interceptions come after the the EU promised to give Libya more money to curb migration over the Mediterranean.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Libya says it intercepted more than a thousand migrants trying to make the dangerous Mediterranean crossing over the past week, February 4, 2017.

Updated Feb 6, 2017

Libya's coast guard has intercepted more than a thousand immigrants attempting to reach Europe after launching from the western city of Sabratha over the course of a week, a spokesman said on Saturday.

The announcement came just a day after EU leaders agreed on a plan at a summit in Malta to reduce the flow of migrants from Libya.

TRT World has more. 

According to the new plan, Libya’s UN-backed government will receive €200 million, including funding to beef up its frontier controls.

However, rights groups criticised the move saying the plans expose migrants to further risks and abuses, as the Libyan government has limited control over its own territory.

General Ayoub Qassem, the coast guard spokesman, said 431 migrants had been intercepted at sea on Thursday off the coastal town of Sabratha, and another 700 had been stopped on January 27 in the same area.

"The illegal migrants are from various sub-Saharan countries and include a big number of women and children," Qassem said.

Libya has become a major transportation hub for migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean by boat to Europe since a route between Turkey and Greece was largely closed off last year.



TRTWorld and agencies