Dawn Alliance forces loyal to Libya’s Tripoli-based General National Council (GNC) administration arrested 600 illegal migrants planning to board ships headed to Europe.
The migrants were taken to a detention facility in Tripoli where the AFP news agency reported they were being held outside the facility and given food and drink.
The GNC announced earlier this month that Dawn Alliance forces would begin cooperation with the EU to prevent attempts at migration by cracking down on border patrols and smuggler vessels in Libya’s western ports.
“The National Salvation Government [GNC] is committed to take all necessary measures… of preventing the continuity of illegal immigration, and will adopt all deterring measures against the violators,” a statement by the Tripoli government read.
Migrants found without paperwork will be processed and deported before they are able to attempt the perilous naval voyage to Europe.
The GNC also announced that it would work together with the EU for the “improvement of healthy and living conditions of detainees up until they are deported,” as part of a five point plan which also include greater cooperation with migrant hub countries to expedite the detainment and deportation process.
Inner turmoil in Libya, which began when the rival House of Representatives (HoR) attempted to force the closure of the GNC in August, has made it a hub for immigrant entry from Africa and the Middle East as the two rival parliaments feud for control of the country - leaving internal matters such as immigration in disarray.
The GNC holds greater influence in Libya's internal affairs and economic institutions than the (HoR). However, the HoR has enjoyed a greater audience from some members of the international community and ongoing UN peace talks aim to unify the two bodies.
The HoR has repeatedly refused to cooperate with the EU to combat the issue of growing migration.
Illegal maritime migration from Libya is a growing concern for the EU as escalating regional conflicts and growing poverty in Africa and the Middle East have led to a considerable rise in migrant numbers.
Nearly 1,800 people are believed to have died since January in attempted Mediterranean crossings, while around 36,000 completed the perilous journey.
The Italian government believes that 200,000 more people will attempt illegal crossings by year’s end.