Migrants deportees from Libya on board a flight

PARIS, France–– reports from Tripoli, Libya says the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has deported 169 illegal immigrants from Libya to Niger, according to the UN agency in a statement on Wednesday.

IOM said, “169 migrants, including 14 children, were able to return to their homeland in Niger through the Mitiga International Airport in Tripoli to Niamey.”

The extradition was carried out within the UN agency’s voluntary return program, the statement said.

Several migrant shelters in Libya are crowded with thousands of migrants who have been arrested by Libyan authorities or rescued at sea.

IOM provides these migrants with the opportunity to return to their respective countries voluntarily.

The IOM’s voluntary program has been carried out in Libya since 2006 to arrange the return of illegal migrants stranded in Libya to their countries of origin.

The UN migration agency has deported 20,000 illegal migrants from Libya to their countries of origin in 2017.