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Libya navy denies 50 illegal immigrants died off coast

October 1, 2019 at 12:12 pm

Libyan Coast Guards are seen in the Mediterranean Sea rescuing migrants, near Libya [Marcus Drinkwater / Anadolu Agency]

The Libyan navy yesterday denied that 50 illegal immigrants had drowned near the country’s coast two days ago. The navy asserted that the rubber dinghy they were on drowned but all the migrants were rescued.

In a tweet on Saturday, the UNHCR Libya said: “Happening now! A boat carrying over 50 persons capsized off Libyan shores. Rescuers on their way and UNHCR and partners ready to provide medical and humanitarian assistance upon disembarkation.”

The Libyan navy, however, denied reports that the immigrants drowning, saying in a statement: “Unfortunately, news had spread through various media sources that more than 50 illegal immigrants drowned off the Libyan coast, which is untrue.”

“The Libyan coastguard has,” it added, “upon receiving a report, went immediately in search of the boat. The search continued until dawn on Sunday.”

READ: Seven die after migrant boat capsizes off Greece

On Sunday, UNHCR Libya tweeted: “Update on boat in distress: Some 70 persons have disembarked back in Libya by the coast guards, after days in distress at sea. UNHCR partner @IMC_Worldwide at the port to provide support. 2 persons in critical condition – We stress Libya not safe port of@disembarkation.”

Following 2the 011 uprising that toppled long time dictator Muammar Gaddafi, the western coast of Libya has been used as the main departure point for thousands of migrants and refugees fleeing their countries from wars and poverty and heading to Europe.