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Nearly a thousand migrants returned to Libya by coastguard

Child migrants sitting on dock in Libya's port of Tripoli
Child migrants sitting on dock in Libya's port of Tripoli
By Daniel Bellamy with Reuters
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Nearly a thousand migrants returned to Libya by coastguard.


Nearly a thousand migrants were rescued on Sunday by the Libyan coastguard and ten bodies recovered from the sea.

Mostly from sub-Saharan Africa, the 948 migrants had taken to sea in three inflatable boats with hopes of reaching Europe.

Since last week almost two thousand migrants have been brought back to Libya.

A few of the thousands of migrants in the North African state who have beeen determined to be refugees by the UN's refugee agency have been sent to Niger on Libya's southern border.

The move to Niger is designed to protect refugees and other vulnerable migrants who travel to Libya.

Many are trapped in smuggling networks or detention centres where they are exposed to a range of abuses including rape and torture that have been widely documented by human rights organizations and U.N. agencies.

Most migrants remaining in Libya try to head across the Mediterranean towards Italy, hoping they will be picked up by ships run by aid groups and taken there.

But Italy's new anti-immigrant government is refusing to allow the rescue ships to dock at Italian ports.

Italy's new interior minister was due in Libya's capital on Monday after attending an EU summit on migration over the weekend.

No formal statment was issued after the summit suggesting little progress was made.

The western coast of Libya is the main departure point for thousands of migrants fleeing wars and poverty and trying to reach Europe.

The number of crossings has dropped sharply since July 2017 when an armed group expelled human traffickers from a smuggling hub after an Italy-backed deal.

Libya plunged into chaos following the NATO-backed uprising that toppled Muammar Qaddafi in 2011, with many armed groups and two administrations vying for power.

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