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Libyan navy rescues 335 migrants attempting to cross Mediterranean

The Libyan navy announced on Sunday that it had rescued 335 migrants and recovered the body of a drowned person in separate operations off the capital of Tripoli as they attempted to cross the Mediterranean.

“A coast guard patrol rescued 57 illegal migrants on Saturday on a wooden boat 40 nautical miles north of Zouara, including 17 women and nine children,” General Ayoub Kacem, the Navy’s spokesperson, told AFP.

They come from Ethiopia and Egypt, he said.

On Tuesday, Libyan Navy patrols rescued 278 migrants in four inflatable boats northwest and northeast of Tripoli.

The Coast Guard’s Fazan boat in Tripoli rescued 92 migrants on aboard a rubber boat north of al-Khums.

In the west, Talil boat rescued 48 migrants aboard a rubber boat 20 miles north of Sabratah, and were taken to the refinery port of Zawiya.

The boat Obari rescued 138 migrants aboard two rubber boats, the first 40 miles, and the second 45 miles north of the five, and the Information Office pointed to one death among the migrants.

On August 9, the Libyan navy accused the authorities of failing to manage migrants rescued at sea, claiming that it could be forced to let people go free once brought back to land.

Despite the risks, migrants continue to attempt to reach Europe by sea, preferring to take their chances than stay in Libya, where they are subject to abuse, extortion and torture, according to humanitarian organizations.

Libya, which has been wracked by chaos since the 2011 uprising that killed dictator Muammar Qaddafi, has long been a major transit route for migrants, especially from sub-Saharan Africa.

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