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The Libyan Coast Guard rescues about 500 immigrants in the region surrounding Tripoli

September 20, 2019

TRIPOLI, Sep. 20 (Reuters / EP) –

The Libyan Coast Guard said Thursday that it has collected 493 immigrants in six inflatable boats in six operations in a week in areas northeast and northwest of Tripoli, the capital.

Immigrants, including 28 women and five children, are from sub-Saharan, Arab and Asian countries. All have been transferred to detention centers administered by the UN-backed National Agreement Government, as indicated by the Coast Guard spokesman, Ayoub Qassem.

The western coast of Libya is a major point of departure for immigrants fleeing war and poverty and expecting new lives in Europe, although the figure has reduced considerably since July 2017.

Immigrants have been transferred to several detention centers: 173 to Komas, about 120 kilometers from Tripoli, 166 to Tripoli, 50 to Zawiya and 104 to Zawarah, according to Qassem.

This Thursday a Sudanese immigrant has died at the naval base of Abu Sittah in Tripoli by a gunshot wound, hours after the Libyan Costeria Guard returned him to the coast.

Libya plunged into chaos after the NATO-backed uprising that overthrew Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, with many armed groups and two administrations competing for power.