african migrants Libya
african migrants Libya

Libyan coast guard has intercepted a group of boats heading to Europe with over 900 migrants abroad, including 25 children. The migrants came from Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, authorities said.

The vessels set off from across the Mediterranean from western Libyan city of Sabratha, according to Libyan officials.

"A coast guard patrol from Zawiya (west of Tripoli) intercepted five inflatable boats and a wooden vessel carrying 906 migrants at dawn on Friday," General Ayoub Qassem said.

The general said 25 children and 98 women, seven of whom were pregnant, were among those rescued.

"One of the rubber boats was holed and on the point of sinking, while the wooden one did not have a motor," Qassem said.

Women aboard a rescue boat

Women aboard a rescue boat

Libya in turmoil

Libya has been in turmoil since a 2011 uprising toppled and killed strongman Moammar Gadhafi. It has become the most popular departure point for migrants trying to reach Europe by sea.

About 60,000 people have set off from Libya's coast this year, many packed onto ill-equipped boats that often get picked up by European vessels when they reach international waters.

But some boats sink or become stranded when smugglers remove the engines for reuse, and some get turned back by Libya's coast guard.

First published June 17, 2017

bik/mkg (Reuters, AFP)

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