This week’s flight from Libya was the seventh since January 2017 organized by IOM for Guinean migrants from Libya with a total of 859 migrants assisted so far. Above is a photo of Guinean migrants assisted by IOM last August. File photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2017
File photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2017

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) announced Friday that more than 160 illegal immigrants were voluntarily deported from Libya to Nigeria on Thursday night.

The immigrants departed from the southern Libyan city of Sabha, as part of the organization’s voluntary humanitarian return assistance program.

The deportation was carried out with the support of the European Union Trust Fund, IOM said.

The IOM is running a voluntary return program with an aim to arrange the return of illegal immigrants stranded in Libya to their countries of origin.

Migrant shelters in Libya are crowded with thousands of migrants who have been rescued at sea or arrested by Libyan security services.

Libya has become a preferred point of departure for illegal immigrants hoping to cross the Mediterranean Sea into Europe due to insecurity and chaos in the North African country following the 2011 uprising that toppled former leader Muammar Gaddafi. Enditem

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