Libya’s coast guard has intercepted some 160 Europe-bound African migrants, including dozens of children and women, in the Mediterranean Sea near its shores.
Spokesman, Ayoub Gassim, said a boat carrying 158 passengers including 34 women and nine children was stopped Monday off the coast of the western town of Khoms.
Libya has emerged as a major transit point to Europe for those fleeing poverty and civil war elsewhere in Africa. Traffickers have exploited Libya’s chaos following the 2011 uprising that toppled and later killed long-time ruler, Moammar Gaddafi.
Gassim said the migrants were given humanitarian and medical aid and were taken to a refugee camp in Khoms town.
Libyan authorities have stepped up efforts to stem the flow of migrants, with European assistance.