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5 Migrants Die off Libya Coast, 51 Transferred Back

5 Migrants Die off Libya Coast, 51 Transferred Back

Thursday, 16 April, 2020 - 06:00
FILE PHOTO - Migrants arrive at a naval base after being rescued by Libyan coast guards in Tripoli, Libya June 29, 2018. REUTERS/Ismail Zitouny

The bodies of five people were recovered Wednesday off the coast of Libya after their boat capsized as they tried to cross the Mediterranean.

The UNHCR said 51 other migrants, including women and children, had been picked up by a ship and transferred to the Libyan coastguard.

On Sunday, a spokeswoman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) had expressed alarm over the fate of two inflatable boats that had set sail from Libya for Italy, which along with Malta has closed its ports to migrants.

The International Organization for Migration confirmed that five people were found dead aboard the boat. Survivors told the IOM that a further seven people are missing.

The IOM said that survivors were taken into detention centers in Tripoli.

Years of chronic unrest has transformed Libya into both a destination and transfer point for African migrants.

As the weather improves, increasing numbers try to reach European Union countries to ask for asylum, but hundreds of people die each year attempting the crossing.

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