Libya 's Coast Guard sinking scores of illegal immigrants off Libya News -

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At least 116 migrants were missing and 132 were rescued by the Libyan Coast Guard and local fishermen after a boat sank off the coast of the city of Al-Khums, east of Tripoli, Libyan navy spokesman Ayoub Kassem said on Thursday (25 July 2019). Kassem quoted survivors as saying that more than 200 migrants were on board the dilapidated boat.

For its part, the UNHCR has said earlier in the day that there are fears of the death of up to 150 people in the incident, while 150 were rescued. UNHCR and other UN agencies have reiterated calls for the return of survivors to Libya as a conflict zone in which migrants who are rescued and refugees are being held in inhumane conditions.

UNHCR spokesman Charlie Yexley said local fishermen had retrieved the survivors and Libyan border guards had sent them back to Libya.

The ship left Libya from the city of Al-Khums, 120 km east of Tripoli. According to preliminary accounts available from the survivors, the ship was carrying about 300 people, but it was not clear whether it was one or two vessels. If 150 people are confirmed dead, this is the largest number in a shipwreck in the Mediterranean this year.

Libya is a center for migrants, many of whom try to reach Europe on ships that are not seaworthy.

By REUTERS (Reuters)

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