Libya to expel 271 illegal migrants from African countries

TRIPOLI Tue Apr 22, 2014 10:43am EDT

TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Libya plans to expel 271 migrants from sub-Saharan countries in a fresh crackdown on illegal immigration to and through the North African country, state news agency LANA said on Tuesday.

The emigrants will be deported to their home countries Chad, Niger, Eritrea, Ghana, Sudan and Nigeria, LANA said, quoting immigration officials.

Many migrants from sub-Saharan Africa head to this oil producing country to escape from desperate conditions in their own countries and find work here, or risk the perilous journey across the Mediterranean to Europe.

Western powers worry that Islamist militants exploit Libya's turmoil and lawlessness to get training in the vast desert country or smuggle weapons and fighters via its porous borders to conflict hotspots such as Mali, Sudan or Syria.

(Reporting by Ahmed Elumami; Editing by Tom Heneghan)

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