MOGADISHU, May 30 (Xinhua) -- The Somali government on Wednesday evacuated 151 migrants from Libya who had been held in areas controlled by militia.
The latest evacuation brings to 176 the number of Somalis who have been returned home since the government launched the return-to-home exercise backed by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the EU in December last year.
Somali Ambassador to EU Ali Faqi who received the returnees at the airport in Mogadishu said the registration and repatriation of other Somalis still stranded in Libya is still ongoing.
He said they have managed to bring back 151 Somalis out of 300 who had been registered. Faqi said the first batch of 11 Somalis arrived in the country in February followed by 13 others in March and a similar number in the same month.
He said the efforts are underway to bring back more Somalis who are still stranded in the North African nation, noting however that some are not willing to return.
The Horn of African nation's government has returned prisoners and Somali migrants back from Ethiopia, Seychelles and India earlier.
Photos and videos of Somalis tortured in smugglers' camps have outraged the public in Somalia, prompting President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed to order evacuation of Somali migrants allegedly enslaved in Libya.
According to reports, Libya's Bani Walid is a hotspot for smugglers moving migrants from sub-Saharan countries to the coast, where they then board boats in dangerous sea journeys to Italy. Enditem