The International Organization for Migration (IOM) announced that Libyan patrols intercepted a total of 726 migrants off the coast of Libya, and returned them to shore. This comes in parallel with a security campaign launched by the Libyan government against human trafficking gangs.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) said on Monday that the migrants, including women and children, were “intercepted and returned” to Libya between 21-27 May 2023.
“So far this year, a total of 5,784 illegal immigrants have been intercepted and returned to Libya,” the organization said. It added that 643 migrants have died, and another 332 are missing at sea off the Libyan coast.
Last week, the IOM said that the total number of irregular migrants in Libya is estimated at 706,062 migrants, from more than 44 countries.
The number of migrants in Libya has continued to increase slightly, compared to the previous round of data collection (694,398 migrants, Round 45, November – December 2022).
In 2020, the number of migrants in Libya declined as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and its socioeconomic impact. Since 2021, the number of migrants has been increasing, yet it remains far lower than prior to the onset of conflict in 2011, when there was an estimated 2.5 million migrants in Libya.
In its periodic report, the UN organization said that the migrants are distributed among the Libyan cities as follows: “112,266 migrants in Tripoli, 83,877 migrants in Benghazi, 71,718 migrants in Misrata, 58,860 in Ajdabiya, 44,770 in Zawiya, 40,132 in Al-Marqab, and 34,480 in Al-Jafara, while there are 31,215 immigrants in Zuwara, and the rest of the immigrants are distributed over more than 100 Libyan municipalities.”
In line with previous rounds of data collection, the majority of migrants in Libya are nationals from neighbouring countries: Niger (24%), Egypt (23%), Sudan (19%), and Chad (12%).
This trend highlights the influence of geographical proximity, and diasporic ties as significant factors influencing migration patterns in Libya.
Overall, half of the migrants in Libya were from sub-Saharan Africa (49%), over two in five were from North Africa (43%), and a minority were from the Middle East (4%) or Asia (4%).