The International Organization for Migration (IOM) on Thursday said that more than 150 illegal migrants have been intercepted and returned to Libya, APA reports citing Xinhua.
"Over 150 migrants were intercepted and returned to Libya by the coast guard today," the IOM tweeted.
The IOM also said that at least 17 illegal migrants drowned off the Tunisian coast, two days after departing from Libya's coast.
According to the IOM, more than 7,000 illegal migrants have been intercepted at sea and returned to Libya, while hundreds of others died or went missing on the Central Mediterranean route so far in 2021.
Federico Soda, IOM Chief of Mission to Libya, recently expressed concern over the increased number of illegal migrants departing from Libya and the loss of lives.
"Extremely concerned about the increased departures from Libya and the continuous loss of life. The situation cannot be ignored and states must live up to their responsibilities and redeploy search and rescue vessels," Soda tweeted.
The state of insecurity and chaos in Libya following the fall of former leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 has encouraged thousands of migrants to cross the Mediterranean Sea towards European shores.