More than 600 Egyptian nationals living in Libya illegally queued on Monday, outside the capital, Tripoli-based Directorate of Combatting Illegal Migration (DCIM) to receive a pass that would enable them to leave the country.
Until recently, United Nations agencies were responsible for the repatriation of refugees and migrants in Libya.
However, a recent agreement between Libya’s two administrations placed the DCIM, which is affiliated with the western government’s interior ministry, in charge of deportations.
The deputy for security affairs at the DCIM detailed the deportation operation.
“A group of illegal Egyptian migrants will be deported from the premises of the Directorate of Combatting Illegal Migration, for having entered illegally the Libyan territory. Today, the number of illegal migrants being deported is around 600 Egyptian nationals.”
The migrants, mostly men, embarked on a 1,375-km-long journey to the Egyptian crossing facility of Esmaed on buses.
Thousands of Egyptians have lived in Libya for years, many working in sectors agriculture, construction, and other sectors. Some pass through Libya in attempts to reach Europe.
The North African country has also become a hub for tens of thousands of migrants seeking to reach Europe by sea every year.
In June, Libyan media had broadcast unverified footage showing nearly 1,000 Egyptians guarded by soldiers and forced to reach the Egyptian border on foot.
According to the UN International Organisation for Migration, more than 700,000 migrants were present on Libyan territory between May and June of this year.