CAIRO (AP) — Libya’s coast guard says it’s intercepted dozens of Europe-bound migrants off the country’s Mediterranean coast.
Spokesman Ayoub Gassim said Sunday the migrants were returned to shore and would be taken to a detention center in the capital, Tripoli.
Gassim said a rubber boat with 89 African migrants, including 16 women and two children, was stopped Saturday off Libya’s western town of Khoms, around 120 kilometers (75 miles) east of Tripoli.
Libya has emerged as a major transit point for migrants fleeing war and poverty to Europe. In recent years, the EU has partnered with Libya’s coast guard and other local groups to stem the dangerous sea crossings.
Rights groups, however, say those policies leave migrants at the mercy of armed groups or confined in squalid detention centers rife with abuses.