Libya’s coast guard says it has intercepted Europe-bound vessels carrying nearly 200 migrants, including women, off the country’s Mediterranean coast.
Spokesman Ayoub Gassim said Saturday that five rubber boats carrying 199 migrants were intercepted over the past several days near the capital, Tripoli.
He says the coast guard intercepted 39 migrants Wednesday in two boats, another boat with 17 migrants Thursday and two more with 143 migrants Friday.
All were Africans, except eight from Bangladesh. They were given humanitarian and medical aid, then taken to refugee camps in Tripoli.
Libya became a major conduit for African migrants and refugees fleeing to Europe after the 2011 NATO-backed uprising that ousted and killed longtime ruler Moammar Gadhafi.
Libyan authorities have stepped up efforts to stem the flow of migrants, with European assistance.
Spain’s maritime rescue service says over 100 migrants have been rescued from three boats attempting to reach Europe from northern Africa.
The maritime rescue service said one of the boats discovered Saturday carried eight people in the Strait of Gibraltar. Two larger boats, one with 58 people on board and another with 42, were located in waters east of the Strait.
The Spanish Interior Ministry says 8,834 people arrived by sea without authorization between the start of the year and June 16. That is fewer than the 10,746 who came to Spain by boat during the same period last year, when Spain became Europe’s top entry point for migrants.
The rescue service says 22 migrants were missing from a boat that had trouble Wednesday before it could be reached.
Original article found on The Malta Independent