TRIPOLI, Jan. 10 (Xinhua) -- The International Organization for Migration (IOM) on Thursday said that 164 illegal immigrants from Niger have been voluntarily deported from Libya to their country.
"Altogether 164 migrants from Niger were able to return home safely via Misurata airport. IOM teams continue to provide much needed assistance to stranded migrants in Libya with support from the European Union Trust Fund," IOM said.
The voluntary repatriation program is carried out by the IOM with an aim to arrange the return of illegal immigrants stranded in Libya to their countries of origin.
Migrant shelters in Libya are crowded with thousands of migrants who have been rescued at sea or arrested by the Libyan security services.
Libya has become a preferred departure point for illegal immigrants hoping to cross the Mediterranean Sea into Europe due to insecurity and chaos in the North African country following the 2011 uprising that toppled former leader Muammar Gaddafi.