Libya intercepts nearly 200 Europe-bound migrants at sea

A fishing boat carrying hundreds migrants capsized off the coast of Libya.

Cairo ( – Libya’s coast guard says it has intercepted Europe-bound vessels carrying nearly 200 migrants, including women, off the country’s Mediterranean coast, the U.S.-based Associated Press reported.

Spokesman Ayoub Gassim said Saturday that five rubber boats carrying 199 migrants were intercepted over the past several days near the capital, Tripoli.

He says the coast guard intercepted 39 migrants Wednesday in two boats, another boat with 17 migrants Thursday and two more with 143 migrants Friday.

All were Africans, except eight from Bangladesh. They were given humanitarian and medical aid, then taken to refugee camps in Tripoli.

Libya became a major conduit for African migrants and refugees fleeing to Europe after the 2011 NATO-backed uprising that ousted and killed longtime ruler Moammar Gadhafi.

Libyan authorities have stepped up efforts to stem the flow of migrants, with European assistance.

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