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Sudan says 816 African migrants arrested in 2 months

31 August 2016, 10:09

Khartoum - Some 800 African migrants and a group of smugglers were arrested near Sudan's border with Libya while trying to reach Europe between June and August, security officers told reporters Tuesday.

Between June 27 and August 16, security forces arrested 816 African migrants attempting to enter Libya, senior army and police officers told reporters.

They included 347 Eritreans, 130 Ethiopians and 90 Sudanese.

Ten smugglers were also arrested on August 16 after clashing with security forces near the border.

"An officer and two soldiers were killed in the firefight," army General Aseer Hussein Bashir said.

"These people will face legal charges, after which they will be deported," police General Awad Dahia said of the migrants who were detained.

Thousands of migrants from sub-Saharan Africa try to reach Libya daily, from where they embark en masse for Europe on flimsy and overcrowded boats.

On Monday, the Italian coastguard rescued about 6,500 migrants off Libya a day after more than 1,100 were rescued in the same area of the Mediterranean.

The total number of arrivals in Italy this year now stands at 112,500, according to the UN's refugee agency and the coastguard, slightly below the 116,000 recorded by the same point in 2015.

Almost all of those migrants originate from West Africa and the Horn of Africa.

More than 3,000 migrants have died at sea trying to reach either Greece or Italy this year, an increase of some 50 percent on the same period in 2015.

Some 204,000 crossed the Mediterranean to Europe in the first six months of 2016, the UN refugee agency said, as the continent battles its worst migration crisis since World War II.

Last year more than a million migrants made the journey to Europe, with the majority fleeing war in Syria and the Middle East.


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