Libya detains scores of migrants including Bangladeshis

AFP . Tripoli | Update:

.Libyan authorities have intercepted a boat carrying 96 migrants and detained them on shore in the port of Khoms, the country's navy said Wednesday.

"A coast guard speedboat...on Tuesday intercepted a dinghy with 96 illegal migrants on board," the navy said.

It said all those on board were men, mainly from Sudan and Bangladesh, and they were given medical treatment before being placed in a detention centre in the town some 100 kilometres (60 miles) from Tripoli.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) confirmed that 96 migrants had been "returned" to Libya and that its local partner offered them medical screenings.

"While we follow up to provide needed assistance in the detention centre, we reiterate that Libya is not a safe port and that arbitrary detention must end," the IOM said on Twitter.

Libya -- wracked by chaos since the 2011 ouster of Moamer Kadhafi -- has seen a surge in violence following the launch of an assault on Tripoli by strongman Khalifa Haftar 4 April.

Haftar's forces have clashed with fighters backing the internationally recognised unity government around the capital.

The violence has killed 376 people and wounded 1,822, the World Health Organisation said Wednesday, while over 40,000 are estimated to have fled the fighting.

Among the most vulnerable are about 3,500 migrants and refugees held in detention centres near the combat zone who are at "risk", UN humanitarian coordinator for Libya Maria do Valle Ribeiro said Sunday.

Libya, long a major transit route for people desperate to reach Europe, has around 6,000 migrants in official detention centres, according to the IOM.

The UN and rights groups have repeatedly decried the conditions in which migrants are held in Libya.

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