Libya repatriates 174 irregular migrants to Nigeria

Libya repatriates 174 irregular migrants to Nigeria

Libyan authorities have continued repatriations of sub-Saharan irregular migrants, as the North African country struggles to contain its illicit people smuggling trade and to meet international migration control expectations.

Libya’s Interior Ministry head, Mohammed Baredaa, claimed his department began repatriating 174 migrants on June 25th, according to AFP.

The repatriated irregular migrants purportedly include 39 women and six children and are purportedly of Nigerian origin.

In his statement, Baredaa said further repatriations, carried out by plane or by road depending on the peoples’ nationality, would “continue over the coming weeks.”

“I have been in Libya for three years to work and earn money and move to Europe,” Zakaria Abubaker Shueib, a 20-year-old Nigerian migrant set to be repatriated, told AFP.

With Libya a mere 300km (186 miles) from Italy by sea, it has become a key departure point for sub-Saharan migrants attempting the crossing to Europe.

Taking advantage of the instability seen by Libya since its 2011 revolution, people smugglers have run somewhat rampant in recent years, sending would-be migrants into the Mediterranean in unsafe or inadequate vessels.

READ: Hafed Al-Ghwell: Libya is a boiling cauldron of drugs, arms and trafficking

On June 21st, The Libya Observer reported security forces foiled an attempt to smuggle 21 irregular migrants from sub-Saharan Africa, on a beach near Al-Akhyar.

The UN’s International Organization for Migration (IOM), which offers a voluntary return program for migrants stuck in second countries, reported that migrant deaths and disappearances in the Mediterranean rose to 4,984 in 2023, compared with 3,820 in 2022.

“Tunisia accounts for the highest number of incidents recorded followed by Libya with 683 recorded deaths” of migrants, the majority of whom left western Libya, the report stated.

AFP / The Libya Observer


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