Libyan coastguard picks up 443 African migrants headed for Italy

Libya’s coastguard picked up 443 African migrants on Thursday from three inflatable boats in trouble near its western coast, Reuters reports, citing a spokesman. Libya is a main departure point for migrants trying to reach European countries, though the number of crossings has dropped sharply since last July due to a more active coastguard supported by the EU. “The coastguard rescued 301 migrants early this morning, including three women and 46 children from 12 different sub-Saharan countries,” spokesman Ayoub Qassem said. “The illegal migrants were on board two big rubber boats,” Qassem said, adding that the engines of the two boats stopped working in the middle of sea. He later said the coastguard had also recovered three bodies and rescued 142 illegal migrants 25 miles off Tripoli’s eastern Qarabulli town after their boat got torn in the middle of sea.