Libyan navy denies immigrants drowning off Libyan coast
"The news that more than 50 immigrants have drowned off the Libyan coast is untrue. All the immigrants on the boat have been rescued," navy spokesman Ayob Qassem told Xinhua.
"Immediately after receiving this news, coast guards patrols headed towards the site of the mentioned boat. The search operation continued until dawn and involved three boats. The patrol members did not stop until the boat was found and all the immigrants on board have been rescued. The rescue operation took 24 hours," the spokesman explained.
Following the 2011 uprising that toppled the late leader Muammar Gaddafi, Libya became a preferred departure point for illegal immigrants wanting to cross the Mediterranean towards European shores.
The United Nations Higher Commission of Refugees on Sunday stressed that Libya is not a safe port of disembarkation for immigrants, given the deteriorating security conditions