TRIPOLI, May 28 (Xinhua) -- Dozens of illegal Moroccan immigrants started an open hunger strike here on Sunday to protest their delayed repatriation by their country's authorities, a local official said.
A delegation from the Moroccan Embassy visited the migrants in April and collected their information for temporary travel documents that will enable them to leave Libya, Husni Abu-Ayana, head of the information office of Tripoli's anti-illegal immigration department, told Xinhua on Sunday.
"Their repatriation, which was scheduled before Ramadan, was delayed," Abu-Ayana said, adding that 60 inmates in the immigration center carried out a hunger strike.
Libya has become a preferred departure point for illegal immigrants hoping to cross the Mediterranean into Europe, because of insecurity and chaos in the North African country following the 2011 uprising that toppled former leader Muammar Gaddafi.
The population of illegal immigrants in Libya reached 700,000 by the end of 2017, according to official figures.
The Libyan authorities called on international organizations for more support and assistance to improve the living conditions of overcrowded immigrant centers.