TRIPOLI, Nov. 10 (Xinhua) — The International Organization for Migration (IOM) on Saturday said that 120 illegal Nigerian immigrants were voluntarily repatriated from southern Libya to their country.
“Last Thursday, with the help of the security authorities in the south, we finally succeeded: a flight to Nigeria carrying 120 people on board left Libya, supported by the European Union Trust Fund,” IOM said in a statement.
The organization said this was the first immigrant deportation flight to leave directly from southern Libya due to the deteriorated security conditions.
Libya has become a preferred departure point for illegal immigrants hoping to cross the Mediterranean Sea into Europe because of insecurity and chaos in the North African country following the 2011 uprising that toppled former leader Muammar Gaddafi.
Migrant shelters in Libya are crowded with thousands of illegal immigrants who were rescued at sea or arrested by the Libyan security services.
The IOM is running a voluntary return program with an aim to arrange the return of illegal immigrants stranded in Libya to their countries of origin.