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Libya to step up migrant repatriation flights, as 140 Nigerians return home.

Libya’s UN-backed authorities said Tuesday that flights repatriating stranded migrants will be stepped up, as the International Organization for Migration called on Tripoli to empty its detention centres. .
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The plight of migrants in Libya has garnered fresh attention after an outcry over reports of slave auctions in the country, an enormous transit hub for sub-Saharan Africans seeking to reach Europe. .
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Human-trafficking networks have flourished in the chaos that followed a NATO-backed uprising which toppled long-time Libyan dictator Moamer Kadhafi in 2011. .
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In a joint operation involving the internationally recognised authorities and UN migration agency, the IOM, 140 Nigerian migrants were jetted out of Libya on Tuesday in the latest in a string of flights carrying migrants out of the country. .
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At the Tarik al-Sikka detention centre in downtown Tripoli the migrants received their temporary travel documents, clothing and food before being bussed to the airport. .
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Flights would increase from two to four times a week in agreement with the UN agency, he said, adding that some 9,700 people had been repatriated from Tarik al-Sikka so far this year. .
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The latest repatriation came as the head of the IOM called on the authorities in Tripoli to agree to shut down 30 detention centres holding 15,000 migrants. .
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“We need from the Libyans the agreement that we can empty these centres, and I think they will agree to that,” William Lacy Swing told a meeting of the UN Security Council. .
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The detention of the migrants, most of whom are fleeing poverty, has become a pressing issue since CNN aired video footage of an apparent auction of African men in Libya that sparked global outrage. .
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Libya’s UN envoy rejected the report of the slave auctions as a campaign to portray the country as racist and accused African governments of failing to take responsibility for the well-being of their citizens.

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