TRIPOLI, Jan. 20 (Xinhua) -- The International Organization for Migration (IOM) on Wednesday said that 48 illegal migrants have been rescued off Libyan coast.
"IOM staff are at the Tripoli port to provide emergency assistance to 48 migrants returned to shore by the coast guard today," IOM Libya tweeted.
Among the migrants are 11 children and a woman, IOM said, stressing that Libya is not a safe port for disembarkation.
IOM revealed on Wednesday that some 40 illegal migrants drowned off Libyan coast, stressing the need to "re-activate State-led search and rescue operations."
Thousands of illegal immigrants choose to cross the Mediterranean from Libya towards Europe, as the North African country has been mired in insecurity and turmoil since a NATO-backed uprising killed the country's long-time leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.
In 2020, 323 migrants died and 417 others went missing on the Central Mediterranean route, while 11,891 illegal migrants were rescued and returned to Libya, according to IOM.