The Libyan Coast Guard on Sunday intercepted a ferry carrying some 500 migrants bound for Europe off the country’s coast, the UN refugee agency said. This is the latest case of being caught at sea while traveling from a North African country to European shores. There has been an increase in such cases in recent months.
Libya has emerged as a major transit point for migrants fleeing war and poverty in Africa and the Middle East hoping for a better life in Europe. Anarchy has erupted in the country after the 2011 uprising in which dictator Moammar Qazzafi was ousted and later killed.
According to the UN refugee agency UNHCR, the persons detained on Sunday landed at an oil refinery point in the western city of Zawia. These include Sudanese, Somalians and Syrians. The migrants were probably taken to a detention center as Libyan authorities usually do to captured migrants.