TRIPOLI, Jan. 14 (Xinhua) — The International Organization for Migration (IOM) on Tuesday said that nearly 1,000 illegal immigrants have been rescued off the Libyan coast so far in 2020.
"Close to 1,000 migrants were returned to Libyan shores and detained so far in 2020," IOM tweeted.
"IOM staff are at disembarkation points to provide assistance, but the organization reiterates that measures to protect lives and guarantee the safety of these people are not in place," the organization said.
Libya has become a preferred point of departure for illegal immigrants, mostly Africans, who expect to cross the Mediterranean Sea to Europe.
According to IOM, more than 110,000 illegal immigrants made their way to Europe through the Mediterranean in 2019, while 1,283 died on the way.
IOM has repeatedly stressed that Libya is not a safe port for disembarkation of immigrants due to the deteriorating security conditions in the country.
The eastern-based army has been leading a military campaign since early April in and around the capital Tripoli, attempting to take over the city and topple the rival UN-backed government.