Libyan coastguard stops more than 1,000 migrants in one day
A Libyan coastguard stands on a boat during the rescue of 147 migrants close to the coastal town of Zawiyah — AFP
TMP – 27/09/2017
The Libyan coastguard has reported that its vessels intercepted 1,074 migrants during an intensive day of operations west of the capital Tripoli.
Coastguards from Zawiya, 45 km west of Tripoli, stopped more than eight migrant boats, according to coastguard spokesman Ayoub Qassem.
The spokesman said the migrants were from sub-Saharan African and Arab countries and had departed from Sabratha and the nearby Talil and Wadi areas.
Following the interception of the boats, the migrants were detained and sent to a migrant detention camp in Zawiya, Libya.
The Libyan coastguard also reported that it stopped more than 3,000 migrants in the week up to 17 September in 12 separate operations, mostly staged from the cities of Zawiya and Sabratha off the country’s west coast.
Although there has been a drop in the number of migrants departing from the Libyan coast to Italy since July, smugglers continue to send migrants on overcrowded and unseaworthy boats across the Mediterranean.
The EU and Italy have been providing support to Libya’s coastguards to enable them to stop boats carrying migrants, but Italy also wants to block migrants from reaching Libya.
At a meeting between Libya and Italy held in Rome on 15 September, chaired by Italian Interior Minister Marco Minniti, an agreement was reached to create a logistical base for border guards on Libya’s southern borders and to facilitate the presence of United Nations organizations.