The Libyan navy announced on Sunday that it had rescued 335 migrants and rescued the body of a person in separate operations north of the capital Tripoli as they attempted to cross the Mediterranean.
“A coast guard patrol rescued 57 illegal migrants on Saturday on a wooden boat 40 nautical miles north of Zouara, including 17 women and nine children,” General Ayoub Kacem, the Navy’s spokesman, told AFP.
They come from Ethiopia and Egypt, he said.
On Tuesday, Libyan Navy patrols “rescued 278 migrants in four inflatable boats northwest and northeast of Tripoli,” General Kacem added.
According to the Libyan navy, they included 128 Sudanese, Chadians, Egyptians, Nigerians, Beninese and Eritreans, including 35 women and 11 children.
Only one body was recovered by the Coast Guard.
Since the fall of dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, Libya has been plunged into chaos, with a multitude of armed groups and rival political forces.
Migrants rescued at sea by the navy are first welcomed by local NGOs, which provide them with care and food, before being taken care of by agents of the anti-immigration body of the Ministry of the Interior of the Government of National Unity (GNA), recognized by the United Nations.
The Libyan navy accused the authorities on 9 August of failure and slowness in taking care of migrants rescued at sea, claiming that it could be forced to let them go free once they were brought back to land.
Despite the risks that a crossing represents for Europe, migrants take to the sea, preferring to try their luck rather than stay in Libya, where they are subjected to abuse, extortion and torture, conditions frequently denounced by NGOs.