Tripoli: A group of 165 illegal migrants were voluntarily deported from Libya to Niger, their home country, said a local official here.
“After approval of the head of the Illegal Migration Control Department, a flight took off from Misurata City to Niger for a voluntary return of 165 illegal migrants, including women and children,” Hussain al-Turki, head of the Illegal Migrants’ Deportation Department of the Misurata International Airport, told Xinhua news agency.
The deportation was carried out in coordination with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), al-Turki said.
The Voluntary Humanitarian Return program, run by the IOM, arranges the return of illegal immigrants stranded in Libya to their homeland.
Libya has become a preferred point of departure for illegal immigrants who attempt to cross the Mediterranean Sea to reach European shores.
In 2021, a total of 32,425 illegal migrants were rescued and returned to Libya, while 662 died and 891 others went missing off the Libyan coast on the Central Mediterranean route, according to the IOM.