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At least 1,131 migrants intercepted in western coast of Libya in a week

By on February 6, 2017

Libya’s coast guard intercepted at least 1,131 migrants near the western city of Sabratha over the course
of a week, a spokesman said on Saturday.

At least 431 migrants had been intercepted on four inflatable boats off Sabratha’s coast on Thursday and some 700 had been picked up on Jan. 27 from three wooden vessels in the same area.

Those intercepted on Jan. 27 also included migrants from Syria, Tunisia, Libya and the Palestinian territories, he said, and smugglers had attempted to block the coast guards from taking those migrants from their boats.

Libya has become the main point of departure for migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean by boat to Europe since a route between Turkey and Greece was largely closed off last year.

Libya’s coastguard sends migrants back to detention centres that rights groups have criticised for their inhumane conditions and widespread abuses.

On Friday, European leaders offered Libya money and other assistance to try to curb record migrant flows from the North African country.

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