(Last Updated On: October 21, 2019)

CAIRO (AP) — Libya’s coast guard says it’s intercepted 126 Europe-bound migrants off the country’s Mediterranean coast.

Monday’s statement by spokesman Ayoub Gassim says a rubber boat, with 118 men, four women and four children, was stopped Sunday off Libya’s coastal town Garabulli, 60 kilometers (37 miles) east of the capital’ Tripoli.

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He says the migrants, identified as African, were returned to shore and would be taken to a detention center in Tripoli.

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Libya has emerged as a major transit point for migrants fleeing war and poverty to Europe. In recent years, the EU has partnered with Libya’s coast guard and other local groups to stem the dangerous sea crossings.

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Rights groups, however, say those policies leave migrants at the mercy of armed groups or confined in squalid detention centers rife with abuses.

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