On May 25, 2020, the UN migration agency said in the past two days Libya’s coastguard intercepted about 400 Europe-bound migrants off the country’s coast.
Safa MSEHLI, a spokeswoman for the International Organisation for Migration said the migrants were taken to the al-Nasser detention center in the town of Zawya, west of Tripoli.
Ms. MSEHLI said departures from Libya had increased, which is “especially worrying amid a sharp decrease in search and rescue capacity”.
Two people had died from the 315 migrants who were intercepted in the Mediterranean and returned to Tripoli early on Monday said the UN refugee agency in Libya. The bodies were recovered.
Italian police on Sunday corrected a report that a record 400 migrants had landed on a beach in Sicily, saying the number was about 70, the Ansa news agency reported. Witnesses had earlier told security forces that hundreds of migrants had arrived aboard two boats.
Reacting to the initial reports, the anti-immigration League party of Matteo SALVINI said: “Italy has become a refugee camp again”.
Interior Ministry figures from Friday show 4.445 migrants have arrived in Italy since the start of the year.
Libya has emerged as a major transit point for African and Arab migrants fleeing war and poverty to Europe after it descended into chaos following the 2011 uprising that toppled and killed longtime dictator Muammar GADDAFI.
The International Organisation for Migration said last month that its estimated death toll among migrants who have tried to cross the Mediterranean Sea since 2014 has surpassed 20.000.
Major maritime rescue charities, such as Ocean Viking and Sea-Watch Since have suspended migrant rescue operations since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
The pandemic and a surge in fighting around Tripoli have added to the problems for thousands of people trying to pass through the North African country en route to Europe.
The EU has partnered with the coastguard and other Libyan forces to stop the flow of migrants in recent years.
Rights groups say those efforts have left many at the mercy of brutal armed groups or confined in squalid and overcrowded detention centers that lack adequate food and water.
In 2020, the EU agreed to end an anti-migrant smuggler operation involving only surveillance aircraft and instead deploy military ships to concentrate on upholding a widely flouted UN arms embargo that’s considered key to winding down Libya’s relentless war.
This article was edited using the data from the Aljazeera.com, English.alaraby.co.uk, and Thenational.ae.
Source of the photo: www.telegraph.co.uk