At least five migrants, including a woman and a child, drowned on Sunday when their boat capsized off the coast of Libya, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) said yesterday.
IOM spokeswoman Safaa Msehli said the Europe-bound boat was carrying 45 migrants when it capsized, adding that fishermen rescued 40 migrants and returned them to the shore.
Msehli said the boat was among nine others carrying more than 700 migrants intercepted on Sunday by the Libyan coast guard. They were sent to overcrowded detention centres.
She expressed the UN migration agency's concern that the migrants' lives might be at risk in detention.
Attempts to cross the Mediterranean from the coast of Libya to Europe have increased in recent weeks, as smugglers take advantage of the calm sea and warm weather.