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Five migrants die off Libyan coast: UNHCR

April 16, 2020 03:11 AM


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The bodies of five people were recovered Wednesday off the coast of Libya after their boat capsized as they tried to cross the Mediterranean, the UNHCR said.

It added that 51 other migrants, including women and children, had been picked up by a ship and transferred to the Libyan coastguard, which took them to detention centres.

On Sunday, a spokeswoman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) had expressed alarm over the fate of two inflatable boats that had set sail from Libya for Italy, which along with Malta has closed its ports to migrants.

Years of chronic unrest has transformed Libya into both a destination and transfer point for African migrants.

As the weather improves, increasing numbers try to reach European Union countries to ask for asylum, but hundreds of people die each year attempting the crossing.

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