PARIS, France — The Libyan navy on Monday rescued more than 100 illegal immigrants off the country’s western coast.
“Coast guards rescued 108 immigrants on a rubber boat some 17 miles (27 km) off Sabratha coast,” some 75 km west of the capital Tripoli, according to a Libyan navy spokesman Ayob Qassem .
According to the navy sources, the migrants headed for Europe are of different Arab and African nationalities. They include 13 women and eight children, said Qassem, spokesman for the navy.
According to Qassam, the immigrants have been handed over to the anti-illegal immigration department after receiving humanitarian and medical assistance.
In the past years, Libya has become a preferred transit country for illegal immigrants trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea to reach Europe, with many risking their lives on the way.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said last week that some 40 illegal immigrants were missing off Libya’s western coast.