Lebanon to tackle illegal crossing problems: president

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IOM staff assist Somali, Ethiopian migrants who were forced into the sea by smugglers. Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2017
IOM staff assist Somali, Ethiopian migrants who were forced into the sea by smugglers. Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2017

Lebanese President Michel Aoun urged on Thursday Lebanon’s state security to take proper measures against illegally human smugglers by sea to other countries, a statement by the Lebanese Presidency reported.

“We should fight against networks that organize illegal trips by sea and expose people’s lives to danger,” Aoun said during a meeting held to discuss security developments in the country.

Aoun emphasized the need to deal with this problem from a humanitarian and security perspective while also dealing with the social factors prompting people to use such dangerous ways to escape Lebanon.

Lebanon’s state security will increase naval patrols to monitor such practices, the statement noted.

Several boats carrying Lebanese and Syrian nationals attempted to escape from Lebanon to Cyprus and then to other countries over the past days, given the current deteriorating economic situation in Lebanon.

The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) rescued on Sept. 14 a boat with 37 people inside outside Lebanese territorial waters, 48 km away from Tripoli, while it found several dead bodies on Lebanon’s shores.

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