160 illegal immigrants voluntarily repatriated from Libya's conflict-torn capital: UN

Source: Xinhua| 2019-04-12 22:14:56|Editor: xuxin
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TRIPOLI, April 12 (Xinhua) -- The International Organization for Migration (IOM), the UN migration agency, said on Friday that 160 illegal immigrants were voluntarily repatriated from Libya's capital Tripoli which is witnessing military action between the UN-backed government forces and the eastern-based army.

"Amid the ongoing clashes, IOM staff in Libya coordinated very closely with Libyan authorities to ensure the safe arrival of all migrants coming from different detention centers and different urban areas in Tripoli at Mitiga airport," the IOM said in a statement.

Last week, the Libyan army launched a military campaign to take over Tripoli where the UN-backed government is based.

A day earlier, the World Health Organization said the fighting had killed 56 and injured 226 others.

The army is allied with the eastern-based government, as the North African country is politically divided between two governments in the east and west.

So far this year, 3,175 migrants from Libya's detention centers and urban settings have managed to return to their countries of origin as part of IOM's Voluntary Humanitarian Return.

"We continue to support a safe and dignified return for migrants to their home countries. Our teams are working around the clock to provide much needed humanitarian support in Tripoli and across Libya," said Othman Belbeisi, IOM's chief of mission in Libya.

The IOM is running a voluntary return program 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 Libyan security services.

Libya has become a preferred point of departure for illegal immigrants hoping to cross the Mediterranean Sea into Europe because of insecurity and chaos in the country after the 2011 uprising that toppled former leader Muammar Gaddafi.