TRIPOLI, Dec. 13 (Xinhua) -- The International Organization for Migration (IOM) said on Friday that 168 Nigerian illegal immigrants have been voluntarily deported from Libya to their home country.
These immigrants arrived Thursday night in Niamey by a charter flight with support from IOM Libya, the IOM said in a tweet.
IOM staff on the ground assisted them with registration, medical assistance and onward transportation, it said.
The IOM runs the Voluntary Humanitarian Return program, which arranges the return of illegal immigrants stranded in Libya to their countries of origin.
There are more than 650,000 illegal immigrants currently staying in Libya, including about 6,000 being held in detention centers, the IOM estimated.
These illegal immigrants, mostly Africans, attempt to cross the Mediterranean Sea to Europe from Libya because of the insecurity and chaos in the North African country since the 2011 uprising that toppled the late leader Muammar Gaddafi's regime. Enditem