The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) on Tuesday said it rescued 132 illegal immigrants off the western Libyan coast.
The UNHCR tweeted that “132 refugees and migrants were intercepted/rescued on Tuesday and returned to Tripoli Naval Base. The team provided all survivors with assistance, food and water.’’
UNHCR said that the rescued migrants embarked on their journey on Sunday in two different boats from the western cities of Zawiya and Al Khums.
UNHCR has repeatedly stressed that Libya is not a safe port for disembarkation of rescued immigrants.
Libya has become a preferred departure point for illegal immigrants who attempt to cross the Mediterranean towards European shores.
This is due to the state of insecurity and chaos in the country following the 2011 fall of the late leader Muammar Gaddafi’s regime.
According to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), more than 10,000 illegal immigrants have been rescued and returned to Libya so far in 2020.
Another 9,225 illegal immigrants were rescued and returned to Libya in 2019.
Thousands of illegal immigrants, who were either rescued at sea or arrested by the Libyan authorities, are detained in overcrowded reception centres in Libya.
However, reports have it that international calls have been repeatedly made to close those centres.
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