Libya says it intercepts boat with 53 migrants off coast
CAIRO (AP) — Libya’s coast guard says it has intercepted a rubber boat carrying 53 African migrants bound for Europe, including 10 women and a child, off its Mediterranean coast.
Spokesman Ayoub Gassim says the African migrants were intercepted Saturday near the western Libyan coastal city of Sabratha, about 70 kilometers (43 miles) west of the capital, Tripoli.
Sabratha is considered the biggest launching point for mainly African migrants making the dangerous trek across the Mediterranean to Europe.
Gassim says the migrants were given humanitarian and medical aid and then taken to a refugee camp in the northwestern city of Zawiya.
Libya became a major conduit for African migrants and refugees fleeing to Europe after the 2011 uprising that ousted and killed longtime ruler Moammar Gadhafi.
Libyan authorities have stepped up efforts to stem the flow of migrants, with European assistance.