Despite the Coronavirus pandemic and its new variants, migrants continue to flock to the old continent in large numbers. A group of 138 migrants, who were trying to reach Europe by sea, were intercepted yesterday Wednesday off the west coast of Libya and taken back to the naval base of the capital, Tripoli. The would-be exiles were intercepted on board an inflatable boat by the Libyan coast guard 90 km from the capital, according to AFP.
Since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 and the start of an unprecedented civil war, Libya has become a hub for illegal immigration due to the chaos in the North African country. Humanitarian organisations are concerned about the treatment of migrants in detention centres.
On Wednesday, the Libyan coast guard intercepted a makeshift boat with 138 migrants on board, including 9 women and 3 children, all of whom were hoping to leave for Europe. Half of these migrants were Sudanese, the rest coming from different African countries.
On Monday, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) had announced the interception, in 48 hours, of some 1,000 migrants attempting the same crossing of the Mediterranean. Libya has become the preferred route for thousands of migrants, mainly sub-Saharan, trying to reach the old continent by sea.
However, UN agencies and NGOs regularly denounce the return of these migrants to Libya and the deplorable conditions in the detention centres. Smugglers and traffickers have taken advantage of the climate of instability that has prevailed in this country, located some 300 km from the Italian coast, over the last 10 years to relaunch their illicit activity in a very positive way.