More than 1,700 irregular migrants were intercepted off the Libyan coast over the past week, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said Monday.
In the period of August 8-14, “1,788 migrants were rescued/intercepted at sea and returned to Libya,” IOM said, adding 22,045 migrants, including women and children, have been intercepted and returned to Libya so far this year.
The agency said 380 irregular migrants have died and 629 others gone missing off the Libyan coast on the Central Mediterranean route so far this year.
Libya has been suffering insecurity and chaos since the fall of late leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, making the North African nation a preferred point of departure for thousands of illegal migrants wanting to cross the Mediterranean towards European shores.
Migrants who are intercepted by Libyan security forces at sea generally end up inside overcrowded reception centers across Libya, despite repeated international calls to close those centers.