TRIPOLI — The Libyan Coast Guard on Saturday rescued 128 illegal immigrants off the country’s western coast, authorities said.

“The Coast and Ports Guard handed over to the Tripoli reception center 128 illegal immigrants, who were on rubber boats (at sea),” the Anti-Illegal Immigration Department said.

The rescued immigrants are African, Asian and Arab nationals, the department said, adding that humanitarian assistance has been provided to them.

Following the 2011 fall of former leader Gaddafi’s government, Libya has been plagued by a state of insecurity and chaos that prompts thousands of illegal migrants to attempt to cross the Mediterranean Sea towards Europe.

According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), more than 8,400 illegal migrants have been rescued and returned to Libya in 2020.

Thousands of illegal immigrants, who were either rescued at sea or arrested by authorities, remain detained in overcrowded reception centers in Libya, despite repeated international calls to close those centers. (Xinhua)