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An armed group is stopping migrant boats from setting off across the Mediterranean from a city west of Tripoli that has been a springboard for people smugglers, causing a sudden drop in departures over the past month, sources in the area said.July and August are peak months for migrant boats because of favorable sea conditions.The two Sabratha sources said the group was running a detention center for migrants who are turned back or taken from smugglers.It was not possible to contact the group, which the third source said was called Brigade 48, although other sources did not confirm this.Another shift in recent weeks has been a clampdown on smuggling of Bangladeshi and North African migrants through Tripoli's Mitiga airport, after a militia that controlled the trade was forced out by a GNA-aligned armed group at the start of July, Libyan and European officials said.Hundreds of thousands of migrants are already in Libya.
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