The bodies of at least six migrants have been found on Libyan shores amid a surge in departures from the conflict-stricken north African country, a UN agency reported on Friday.
“At least 6 bodies of migrants washed up on the shore of Khums, Libya ,” the Libya chapter of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) wrote on Twitter.
IOM Libya said a further 90 migrants were intercepted at sea and were taken back ashore by the Libyan coast guard.
At least nine boats, carrying more than 600 migrants, have embarked on the dangerous sea route out of Libya between Tuesday and Thursday, IOM reported in a separate statement.
“This apparent spike in departures from Libya comes at a time when the capital, Tripoli, and surrounding areas are witnessing some of the heaviest shelling since the conflict erupted in April,” the statement said.
Around 290 migrants were rescued by the Ocean Viking and Open Arms, two European charity ships, while around the same number was intercepted and returned to Libya, IOM said.
Some 43 migrants were picked up by Tunisian authorities off the coast of Djerba, while another boat with 73 migrants made it to Italy’s Lampedusa Island, arriving there on Thursday, the UN agency added.
Ocean Viking, which is operated by SOS Mediterranee and Doctors Without Borders (MSF), asked on Friday for the urgent medical evacuation of two of its 215 rescuees: a woman pregnant with twins and a man with gunshot wounds.
(Edited By: Fatima Sule/Emmanuel Yashim)
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