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Libyan coast guards intercept boats carrying 100 Sudanese migrant

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July 7, 2016 (KHARTOUM)- Libya’s coast guard this week seized five boats carrying over 500 illegal African migrants, among them 100 Sudanese, who had tried to cross the Mediterranean to Europe, Sudan tribune has learnt Thursday.

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Members of the Maltese armed forces toss bottles of water to a group of around 180 illegal immigrants after their vessel ran into engine trouble, off the coast of Malta on September 25, 2005 (Photo Reuters/Darrin Zammit Lupi)

Ravaged by civil war and the collapse of state authority, the North African country has turned into a hub for human traffickers to smuggle African migrants by boat to Italy.

Also, the presence of the Islamic State group in some parts of the country forced the African migrants to seek joining Europe, as for may crossing into Europe is more easy than returning to their countries.

From Monday to Wednesday, Libyan coast guards intercepted five boats transporting 550 illegal African migrants, off the coast of Zawiyah in northwestern Libya, about 45 km west of Tripoli.

Malik Mohamed Salih, an official tasked with anti-illegal migration programme and voluntary return of Sudanese in Libya, told Sudan Tribune on Thursday that the Libyan authorities have seized five rubber boats some nautical miles off the coast of Zawiyah.

“They have been transported to “Al-Matrad” area, 15 km to the west of Zawiyah”, he added.

Salih further said that the Libyan coast guards found 100 Sudanese national among the 550 illegal migrants in the boats intercepted during the three first days of the week.

He pointed out that there was a significant number of women among the detained Sudanese illegal migrants.

On May 27, activist told Sudan tribune that more than 300 Sudanese families had left Sirte and Derna after the ISIS fighters took control of the two cities.

The official warned that they expect more attempts to reach Europe from Libya during the summer as the sea is more saver for the rubber and fisher boats used by the smugglers .

(ST)

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