Libya Denies Smuggled Bangladeshis

A government spokesman said on Saturday that Libya's official government has banned Bangladeshi workers from entering the country because many were trying to travel on illegally by boat to Europe. The North African country, gripped by violence and a breakdown of state authority four years after the ousting of Muammar Gaddafi, has turned into a major hub for human traffickers smuggling African migrants by boat to Italy.
As many as 900 people may have died last month off Libya's coast when their packed boat capsized as they were trying to reach the Italian island of Lampedusa. Many thousands more have managed to make the crossing in an almost daily exodus of boats.
The U.N. refugee agency says 51,000 migrants have entered Europe by crossing the Mediterranean so far this year. The flow has prompted European Union plans for naval and air operations to target smuggler vessels.