Libya navy says small boat carrying migrants robbed off Libyan coast

The Libyan Navy said on Saturday that a dinghy carrying 129 migrants to Europe was robbed by a group of gunmen off the Libyan coast on Friday.

Ayob Qassem, a spokesman of the Libyan navy, said the gunmen chased in a speedboat, boarded the dinghy and robbed the migrants of their belongings.

The migrants were stranded at sea for hours, as the engine of the boat was also looted, Qassem said.

The migrants, including 27 women and two children, are Sub-Saharan Africans, the spokesman noted.

They were rescued off the Zwara coast in western Libya, he added.

Libya is a preferred point of departure for illegal immigrants hoping to cross the Mediterranean into Europe. Smugglers take advantage of the state of insecurity in Libya to send thousands of migrants through the sea, many of whom are reported to be drowned on the way.

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