Two women and three children drowned in the Mediterranean Sea late Tuesday when a Europe-bound boat packed with dozens of migrants capsized off the coast of Libya, Safa Msehli, a spokesperson for the UN’s International Organization for Migration, said Wednesday. A fishing boat and Libya’s coast guard rescued 77 migrants and returned them to shore, she said. These were among the 400 migrants intercepted and returned to detention centers in Libya on Tuesday night. At least 480 migrants who had set sail for Europe were brought back to Libya over the weekend, according to the UN agency. The Central Mediterranean migration route, one of the primary paths for migrants trying to escape war and poverty in Africa, is plagued with shipwrecks; more than 55 migrants died off the Libyan coast last month. Over the last several years, hundreds of thousands of migrants have reached Europe in this way, often making the journey on overcrowded, poorly constructed and ill-equipped vessels, and thousands have drowned along the way.
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