Libya’s coastguards intercept 81 migrants off the shore, bring them back to Tripoli

UNHCR evacuates the rest of migrants from Qasir Benghashir. [UNHCR – Facebook]
The Libyan coastguards stopped 81 migrants off the coast of Libya and returned them to the capital Tripoli, the U.N. migration agency said Tuesday.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) said that the coast guard plucked the migrants, among them 18 women and four children, from the Mediterranean late Monday.

Back in Tripoli, the agency offered the migrants emergency medical assistance. It was not clear where the migrants were from.

The U.N. refugee agency reported last week that the total number of migrants intercepted by the Libyan coast guard in the past month rose 121% from the same period last year.

Late Monday, 15 migrants were released from Abu Salim detention center in Tripoli following “indiscriminate shelling” in the vicinity, the IOM said.

Hundreds of migrants had moved into Abu Salim after fleeing another detention center, housed within a large military complex, which came under attack last July.

That airstrike by Khalifa Haftar’s forces killed at least 50 people and injured over a hundred others, ranking among the deadliest assaults on civilians in the war and turning a spotlight on the many perils migrants face in facilities near the front lines.

In its statement Tuesday, the IOM reiterated that coordinates of detention centers filled with civilians are known to the warring sides.

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