The International Organization for Migration (IOM) said Thursday that it has sent 118 illegal migrants from Libya to their home country Nigeria this week.
“A medical escort was on board the flight and all migrants were tested for COVID-19 prior to departure,” the UN agency said. It estimated that this year, 4,129 illegal migrants who tried to cross the Mediterranean Sea have been rescued and returned to Libya so far.
The agency helped those in Libya, many of whom are stranded in overcrowded reception centers, return to home countries via its Voluntary Humanitarian Return program, a part of the larger EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration.
In 2020, 11,891 illegal migrants were rescued and returned to Libya while 381 migrants died and 597 others went missing on the Central Mediterranean route, according to the IOM.