PARIS, France — Libyan navy spokesman Ayob Qassem on Sunday said they rescued 57 illegal migrants off the country’s western coast.
“A coast guards patrol received a report and rescued 57 migrants on a wooden boat, including 17 women and nine children,” Qassem told Xinhua.
The migrants were rescued some 40 miles off the coast of Zuwara city, some 120 km west of the capital Tripoli, he added.
The rescued migrants are of African and Arab nationalities, the spokesman said.
The United Nations Higher Commission of Refugees (UNHCR) said on Saturday that Libya “is not a safe port of disembarkation,” calling for an end to the detention of migrants.
Because of the insecurity and chaos, Libya is a preferred point of departure for illegal migrants wanting to cross the Mediterranean to reach Europe, many of whom drown on the way.
Improved weather conditions increase the flows of illegal migrants to Europe, particularly off the western Libyan coast.