Libya intercepts boats with over 270 Europe-bound migrants

August 17, 2019 GMT

CAIRO (AP) — Libya’s coast guard says it has intercepted four boats carrying 278 Europe-bound migrants off the country’s Mediterranean coast.

Saturday’s statement by spokesman Ayoub Gassim said the migrants, including 18 women and two children, were intercepted Tuesday in separate rescue operations off the coast near the capital, Tripoli.

He said the migrants were given humanitarian and medical aid before being taken to detention centers in Tripoli.

Libya slid into chaos after the 2011 uprising that toppled and later killed long-ruling dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

Armed groups have proliferated, and the country has emerged as a major transit point for migrants fleeing war and poverty in Africa and the Middle East for a better life in Europe.