Libyan coastguards intercept 22 Europe-bound migrants

Migrants sit in a rubber dinghy as they are rescued by Libyan coast guards in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Libya, January 15, 2018. Image: REUTERS/Hani Amara

Libya’s coast guard said Saturday that it had intercepted nearly two dozen Europe-bound migrants off the country’s Mediterranean coast. 

Navy Spokesman Ayoub Qassim said a wooden boat carrying at least 22 African migrants, all men, was intercepted Friday north of the Bouri offshore oil field, around 105 kilometers (65 miles) from Tripoli.

He said the migrants were given humanitarian and medical aid and then were taken to a refugee camp in the Tajoura district of eastern Tripoli.

Libya became a major conduit for African migrants and refugees fleeing to Europe after the 2011 revolution that ousted and killed longtime dictator Moammar Gaddafi.

Libyan authorities have stepped up efforts to stem the flow of migrants, with European assistance.

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