IOM staff helping a group of migrants rescued at sea | Credit: IOM Twitter account
IOM staff helping a group of migrants rescued at sea | Credit: IOM Twitter account

Over 80 migrants, including women and children, were taken back to Libya within 24 hours by Libyan coast guards, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) tweeted on January 4. The UN agency also said it provided assistance to another 79 people who were returned to Libya by coast guards, while "eight others are reported missing at sea."

Over 80 migrants, including women and children, were returned to Libya on Sunday night by Libyan coast guards, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) tweeted on January 4.

The organization also said in a separate tweet that it assisted a group of 79 people, including 13 women and seven children, who were also taken back to Libya by coast guards.

"Eight others are reported missing at sea," it said. "IOM maintains that no one should be returned to an unsafe port," the agency also tweeted.

Over 160 migrants returned to Libya in 24 hours, Soda

The chief of mission for IOM in Libya, Federico Soda, tweeted on January 4 that "more than 160 migrants were intercepted and returned to Libya in the past 24 hours."

"We reiterate the need to: establish predictable disembarkation in a safe port; dismantle the detention system; deploy State led Search and Rescue assets; lift restrictions on the work of NGOs," Soda wrote in the same tweet.

Overall in 2020, 11,891 migrants were rescued or intercepted at sea and returned to Libya, IOM said on December 28.

IOM Libya also reported that in the period of 22-28 December, the body of one migrant washed up on shore.

Bodies of seven people found dead on Algerian beach

Meanwhile the bodies of seven people, probably undocumented migrants who drowned, were found over the weekend on a beach in the region of Mostaganem, in northwestern Algeria, the local civil protection reports.

"The decomposed bodies of four women and three men, were swept by waves and found on the beach'', according to a statement.

It is still reportedly unclear how they drowned but they are believed to have attempted to reach Europe in adverse weather conditions.

According to the latest data provided by EU border agency Frontex, during the first 11 months of 2020 there were close to 15,900 detections of illegal border crossings in the western Mediterranean. Algerians accounted for two-thirds of all detections on this route this year, the agency said in December.

 

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