Migrants rescued off Libyan coast

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A migrant sits on the rocks, on the shore of Lampedusa island, on October 26, 2013. Italy is one of the European destinations favoured by African migrants in search of a better life. Picture: Filippo MONTEFORTE

Tripoli -

Libyan coastguards rescued 92 African migrants stranded at sea when their boat broke down off the Tripoli coast as they were trying to reach Europe, Lana news agency reported.

The operation off the Al-Buri oilfield brought 92 migrants from various African nationalities safely to shore, Lana said, quoting navy spokesman Colonel Ayyub Amor Gacem.

“The migrants were transferred to Tripoli port and will be handed over to authorities who deal with illegal migration,” he added.

With a 1 770km coastline, Libya is a favoured country of transit for would-be migrants from southern and western Africa seeking to reach Europe in search of a better life.

The journey is frequently perilous, and in October around 400 Africans drowned in the Mediterranean en route for Europe.

Italian Foreign Minister Emma Bonino earlier this month criticised the lack of control in Libya, which has been increasingly lawless since the 2011 uprising that toppled veteran dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

“In the absence of any control over its territory, Libya is today becoming a sort of freeway where anything gets through - weapons, drugs,” Bonino said. - Sapa-AFP

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