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The International Organization for Migration (IOM) on Sunday said that a total of 78 illegal immigrants have been rescued by the Libyan navy off western Libyan coast.

“Last night, 49 migrants were returned to Libya by the coast guard and disembarked in Tripoli. IOM staff were there to provide medical screenings and emergency assistance. Migrants were all released after disembarkation,” IOM tweeted.

“A group of 29 migrants, among them women and children, were returned today to Zwara, Libya, by the coast guard,” IOM added.

Libya has become a preferred point of departure for thousands of illegal immigrants, mostly Africans, wanting to cross the Mediterranean Sea towards European shores, due to the insecurity and chaos that have plagued Libya since the 2011 uprising that toppled the late leader Muammar Gaddafi’s regime.

According to IOM, more than 110,000 illegal immigrants made their way to Europe through the Mediterranean in 2019, while 1,283 died on the way.

IOM has repeatedly stressed that Libya is not a safe port for disembarkation of immigrants, due to the deteriorating security conditions in the country. Enditem

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