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Boat carrying over 250 migrants capsizes off Libya, coast guard says 16 rescued

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TRIPOLI, Libya — A boat carrying over 250 migrants capsized off the Libyan coast near the capital Tripoli, a coast guard official said Saturday.

Abdel-Latif Mohammed said that 16 people had been rescued since the coast guard was alerted to the incident late Friday. The body of an 18-month-old child was pulled from the water as rescue operations continued off the shores of al-Qarbouli, 50 kilometers (30 miles) east of the capital Tripoli.

The coast guard has not yet confirmed the number of deaths, but estimated the sinking boat carried at least 250 people, he added.

The migrants, mostly African nationals, were heading to Europe on a perilous journey that kills scores of people every year.

Libya has grown increasingly lawless since the 2011 overthrow of dictator Moammar Gadhafi, making it a migration hub for sub-Saharan Africans.

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