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Five migrants die, nearly 200 rescued off Libya

© AFP/File | African migrants rescued by the Libyan coast guard arrive at a naval base in Tripoli on June 21, 2018

TRIPOLI (AFP) - 

Five migrants died and nearly 200 were rescued off the coast of Libya while trying to cross the Mediterranean to Europe in two boats, the Libyan navy said Saturday.

Three children and nine women were among 94 migrants rescued on Friday when their inflatable dinghy sank 12 nautical miles from Garabulli, east of the capital Tripoli.

Five migrants --- from Sudan, Nigeria, Chad and Egypt -- aboard the same vessel lost their lives, said navy spokesman Ayoub Kacem.

Another 91 migrants travelling in another boat were rescued in the same area, the spokesman said.

A total of 900 migrants have been intercepted or rescued by the Libyan navy since Wednesday as departures pick up due to favourable weather.

Usually in such cases the migrants are taken to detention centres pending repatriation.

Libya is a key departure point for thousands of migrants hoping to reach Europe, although hundreds drown each year attempting the crossing.

© 2018 AFP