The Libyan coastguard rescues migrants adrift in the Mediterranean Sea (File photo/Reuters)
The Libyan authority to combat illegal migration released 23 asylum-seekers, including 13 Palestinian refugees, after nearly 48 hours in custody.
Libyan coast guard rescued on January 23 some 23 irregular migrants, including 13 Palestinian refugees, who tried to reach the Italian island of Lampedusa. The coast guard received a distress call from Naval Operations Room, about 70 nautical miles north of Al-Khums shore.
Sometime earlier, Palestinian families appealed for the release of their relatives from a detention centre in Tripoli city.
The brother of a Palestinian refugee detained in Libya told the Action Group for Palestinians of Syria (AGPS) that 23 asylum seekers, including 13 Palestinian refugees from Syria, mostly from the ravaged Yarmouk Camp, set sail from Mesrata city at 5 a.m. on Friday, January 21, onboard a rubber boat.
However, soon after, the boat engine went inoperative due to bad weather conditions, heavy rain and high sea waves. Water began to leak into the vessel, resulting in a state of panic among the migrants, who immediately sent a distress call to rescue teams.
The migrants were rescued by the Libyan Coast Guard at dawn on Sunday 23/1/2022, 48 hours after the call was launched. They were transferred to the Center for Combating Illegal Migration in Tripoli, Libya.
Libya is a major transit point for migrants, many from African and Middle Eastern countries, who are fleeing war and poverty trying to reach European shores.
Hundreds die every year crossing the Mediterranean in dangerous conditions trying to reach European destinations, with traffickers taking advantage of political instability in the North African country by putting thousands onto flimsy boats from Libyan shores.