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Libya Says it Rescued 290 Migrants in Mediterranean

Libya Says it Rescued 290 Migrants in Mediterranean

Friday, 24 May, 2019 - 10:30
FILE - In this Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2018 filer, the Sea-Watch rescue ship waits off the coast of Malta (AP Photo/Rene Rossignaud, File)

Libya's navy confirmed on Friday that it rescued three boats carrying a total of 290 Europe-bound migrants off the country's Mediterranean coast, following reports by a German aid group about the disaster.

Libyan coast guards first reported finding off Qarabuli a sinking rubber boat whose bottom had collapsed on Thursday, leaving most migrants in the water and hanging onto what was left of the boat and plastic barrels.

A statement posted Friday on the navy press center's official Facebook page says that boat carried 87 migrants, including six women and a child.

Earlier, the coast guard came to the rescue of two other rubber boats carrying a total of 203 migrants off Zlitin, according to a separate statement.

The three boats carried mostly Arab and African nationals as well as 14 Bangladeshis, who were handed over to Libyan police after receiving humanitarian and medical aid.

A few hours earlier, German aid group Sea-Watch said its aircraft had witnessed three rescue operations by Libyan coast guards on Thursday.

Libya has become a major conduit for African migrants and refugees fleeing to Europe. Thousands have perished while making the perilous sea crossing.

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