Libya’s Coast Guard rescues 290 migrants off Tripoli coast

A moonbird shot for the operation. [Photo: Sea-Watch International]

The Libyan coast guard rescued Friday 290 illegal migrants from two rubber dinghies off the eastern coast of Tripoli.

The migrants were returned to Libya and handed over to the country’s Anti-Illegal Migration Agency.

290 illegal migrants were clinging to inflatable rafts and were taken onboard coast guard vessels in two operations, naval forces spokesperson Ayoub Qassim told Reuters on Friday.

One raft with 87 migrants was intercepted near the coast off Qarabuli, a town 50 kilometers east of Tripoli. Two other inflatable boats with 203 migrants were detected off Zliten, a town 160 kilometers east of the capital, according to Qassim.

“The illegal migrants were found clinging to shabby and broken boats. They were rescued by patrols of coastguards on two different vessels.” He added.

In a statement, the coast guard said that they found a sinking rubber boat whose bottom had collapsed on Thursday, and that most migrants were in the water, hanging onto what was left of the boat, AP reports.

The migrants were disembarked in the cities of Khomas and Janzur.

All of them come from different Arab and sub-Saharan countries. Among them are seven women and one child.

The German aid group Sea-Watch on Twitter said that its aircraft Moonbird witnessed the operations, calling them “EU sanctioned and human rights-violating interceptions of two boats by the co-called Libyan Coast Guard.”

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