More than 900 refugees caught by Libyan coast guard

 17 Jun 2017 - 13:46

More than 900 refugees caught by Libyan coast guard
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TRIPOLI, Libya: More than 900 refugees were picked up Friday by the Libyan coast guard on the Mediterranean Sea, according to a local official.

Libyan navy spokesman Col. Ayoub Qassem said in a statement that coast guard units caught 906 refugees, including 92 women and 25 children, in an operation seven kilometers (4.6 miles) from the western city of Sabratha.

In recent years, the Libyan coast has served as a transit point for thousands of undocumented migrants -- mainly from sub-Saharan Africa -- hoping to cross the Mediterranean into Europe.

Mediterranean refugee arrivals reached 60,521 to date this year, with more than 80 percent arriving in Italy while 1,530 refugees died in 2017 trying to reach Europe via the sea, according to latest figures from the International Organization for Migration.