The Libyan coast guard rescued and brought back to Libya more than 1,500 migrants trying to reach Europe by sea. On Wednesday February 10, two boats carrying 240 migrants were intercepted off the port city of Khoms.
In a statement given to AFP, Lieutenant-Colonel Mohamad Abdel Aali, commander of the coastguard “Oubari”, said that the migrants from the first boat did not easily agree to get on the guard's boat. Spokeswoman of the Spanish humanitarian ship Open Arms, Veronica Alfonsi, has confirmed the return of more than 200 migrants to Libya against their will.
Usually, migrants refuse to return to Libya after being intercepted at sea. Knowing that they will be held in centres, migrants prefer to be rescued by humanitarian rescue ships that allow them to reach Europe.
UN agencies and several NGOs regularly denounce the return of migrants to Libya where they become victims of detention, torture, and exploitation.