Tripoli, Jan 31 (IANS): The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has said that 331 migrants were rescued and returned to Libya in the past week.
"In the period of January 22-28, 2023, 331 migrants were intercepted and returned to Libya," IOM added in a statement on Monday.
The rescued migrants included 20 women and 35 children, it added.
So far this year, a total of 1,103 migrants were rescued and returned to Libya, while 17 died and 18 others went missing off the Libyan coast, IOM revealed.
In 2022, a total of 24,684 migrants were rescued and returned to Libya, the IOM said, adding 529 migrants died and 848 others went missing off the Libyan coast on the Central Mediterranean route, Xinhua news agency reported.
Because of the insecurity and chaos in the country since the fall of late leader Muammar Gaddafi's regime in 2011, many migrants, mostly Africans, chose to cross the Mediterranean Sea to European shores from Libya.
Rescued migrants usually end up inside overcrowded reception centres across Libya, despite repeated international calls to close those centres and release the migrants.