On Monday, the spokesperson for the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), Safa Msehli, said that 160 migrants were taken back to Libya by the Libyan coast guards, in the night between Sunday and Monday.
In a statement, Msehli added that six boats were intercepted over the last 48 hours and 390 men, women and children ended up in Libyan detention centres. The spokesperson noted that Libya is not considered a safe port for the disembarkation of rescued migrants.
“While our teams are present at disembarkation points to provide emergency assistance, we reiterate that no one should be returned to Libya,” IOM Libya stated.
The IOM said a few days ago that 9,448 illegal migrants, including women and children, had so far been rescued and returned to Libya in 2020.
The organisation also said that 196 migrants died, and 275 others went missing on the central Mediterranean route this year.
Libya has emerged as a major transit point for African and Arab migrants fleeing violence and poverty to reach Europe. This is especially true since the North African country collapsed into civil war following the overthrow and killing in 2011 of long-time dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
From 2011 onward, Libya has been plagued by a state of insecurity and chaos that encourages thousands of illegal migrants to attempt to cross the Mediterranean Sea towards Europe.