Fri | Aug 17, 2018

Libya's coast guard rescues more than 270 migrants

Published:Sunday | December 17, 2017 | 12:00 AM


Libyan coast guards rescued at least 270 migrants off the country's shores, a Navy official said yesterday, bringing to over 450 the total number of migrants they've rescued in less than a week.

The Navy official said that the Arab and African migrants, who included women and children, were found at sea in an area between the coastal towns of Garabulli and Zliten, east of the capital, Tripoli, where they were taken to a naval base.

"We were lost and didn't know where to direct our boat," Omar Yusef, a Sudanese migrant, told The Associated Press, "We called the coast guard and a helicopter came and guided us."

Doctors from the UN migration agency and UNHCR received them at the naval base to provide medical assistance ahead of immigration control transferring them to a Tripoli detention centre.

Libya descended into chaos following an uprising in 2011 that toppled and later killed long-time ruler Moammar Gadhafi. It has since become a frequently used perilous route to Europe for those fleeing poverty and civil war in the region.

The massive flood of migrants prompted the EU to train and equip Libya's coast guard to stop boats trying to make the dangerous Mediterranean Sea crossing.