At least 15 migrants have died in a shipwreck off the Libyan coast and five survivors were brought to shore by fishermen, according to the UN migration agency IOM.
At least 15 people are presumed dead after their boat capsized off the Libyan coast near Sabratha on Tuesday. Five survivors were brought to shore by local fishermen, IOM Libya said on Twitter this Wednesday.
The IOM mission chief in Libya, Federico Soda, added that "(M)ore than 70 others were intercepted and returned to Libya by the coast guard last night.”
Libya is a key departure point for migrants attempting to reach Europe by crossing the Mediterranean. Desperate to leave the North African country, they often undertake life-threatening journeys on unseaworthy rubber boats which are organized by smuggling networks operating in the region.
In many cases, Libyan coast guards intercept migrant boats. So far this year, some 10,000 people have been intercepted and returned to the war-torn country by its coastguard, according to the IOM.
The UN agency deems the country unsafe for migrants, because they are often tortured or sold into slavery, reports AFP.
Amnesty International last month urged the European Union to reconsider its cooperation with Libya over "horrific abuses" of refugees and migrants.
With AFP, dpa