Libyan coastguard has intercepted 156 migrants, including Nigerians, in two separate incidents as they tried to reach Europe by sea, the Navy said. Navy spokesman Ayoub Qasim said that Libyan coastguard stopped a rubber boat carrying 116 migrants, including five women, off the western Libyan town of Zuwara.
Qasim said the migrants, from different African nations, had been transported to a sea base in the capital, Tripoli. Earlier, 40 migrants, including eight women and a child, were stopped aboard a rubber boat late Saturday, also off Zuwara. The 40 migrants included 19 Moroccans, 16 Nigerians, four Egyptians and a Syrian, the navy’s media centre said on its Facebook page. In recent months, the Libyan coastguard has reported intercepting various vessels carrying hundreds of migrants heading to Europe via the Mediterranean Sea. Libya has descended into chaos since the 2011 revolt that toppled long-time dictator Moamer Gaddafi. The North African country has since emerged as a gateway to Europe for people fleeing war, persecution and poverty in their homelands.