The Libyan navy says its coastguard stopped a total of 315 migrants in three separate incidents as they tried to reach Europe by sea on Wednesday.

In one incident, the country's coastguard intercepted a rubber boat carrying 116 people off the town of Zawiya, west of the capital Tripoli, navy spokesman Ayoub Qasim said.

Another 199 people were rescued from two boats off Tripoli, he added. One boat started sinking and four of the migrants had fallen into the sea when the coastguard rescued them.

The migrants were of different African nationalities, and from Syria and Bangladesh, according to Qasim. They included eight children and 32 women.

In recent months, the Libyan coastguard has reported intercepting various vessels carrying hundreds of migrants heading for Europe via the Mediterranean Sea.

Libya descended into chaos following the 2011 revolt that toppled long-time dictator Moamer Gaddafi. The North African country has since emerged as a gateway to Europe for people fleeing war, persecution and poverty in their homelands.

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