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Libya halts hundreds of Europe-bound refugees
Africa

Libya halts hundreds of Europe-bound refugees

Hundreds of refugees and migrants attempting to reach Europe have been intercepted in recent days by Libyan authorities, according to a coastguard spokesman. The announcement on Saturday came a day after European Union leaders agreed on a controversial new plan to help stem the flow of migrants from the North African country. Coastguard spokesman General Ayoub Qassem said 431 people on four inflatable boats were rounded up between Thursday and Saturday at sea off the town of Sabratha, 70km west of the capital, Tripoli. "The illegal migrants are from various sub-Saharan countries and include a big number of women and children," said Qassem. "Smugglers had tried to foil the process of arrest by opening fire on our coastguards but the coastguards fired back and that forced the smugglers to withdraw," he added. Source Al Jazeera