The United Nations announced that the Libyan coast guard has stopped 113 migrants trying to reach Italy over the past two days, as boat departures resume following a lull in fighting between rival forces in Libya.
Smuggling activity had slowed when forces loyal to military commander Khalifa Haftar launched an offensive to take the Libyan capital Tripoli, home to the internationally recognised government.
But clashes eased on Tuesday after a massive push by Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) force with artillery failed to make inroads towards the centre. Shelling audible in central Tripoli was less on Wednesday than on previous days.
The Libyan coast guard stopped two boats on Tuesday and one more on Wednesday carrying a total of 113 migrants and returned them to Zuwara and Khums, two western towns away from the Tripoli frontline, where they were put into detention centres, the U.N. migration agency IOM said.
These were the only reported boats since April 11 when 19 migrants were stopped by the coast guard and returned to Khums, according to IOM.