Libyan coastguard saves 315 migrants

Indo Asian News Service

Tripoli, Nov 7 (IANS/AKI) Libyan Coast Guard rescued 315 migrants in the Mediterranean on Wednesday who were trying to cross to Europe aboard three inflatable boats, according to a Libyan navy spokesman.

The migrants included 275 men, 32 women and eight children from various sub-Saharan countries, from Syria and from Bangladesh, navy spokesman Ayoub Qasim said.

A group of 116 people were picked up off the town of Zawiya, west of the capital Tripoli, and a 199 people were rescued from two boats off Tripoli, he added.

All of the rescued migrants were transferred to detention centres, Qasim stated.

Backed by the European Union, Libya's coastguard has stepped up its patrols in the Mediterranean, intercepting over 14,000 migrants between January and October, according to the United Nations migration agency, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).

Chaos-wracked Libya's western coast is a main departure point for migrants fleeing wars and poverty, although the number of crossings have fallen sharply since last year.

--IANS/AKI

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