The United Nations began bringing African refugees to Italy from Libya on Friday, evacuating them from detention centers whose conditions have been condemned by humanitarian groups as inhumane.

Hundreds of thousands of migrants have fled conflict or poverty at home and are now trapped in Libya, where they had hoped to pay people smugglers for passage to Europe via Italy.

The African migrants, including many small children, were covered in blankets or bundled in coats as they disembarked from the plane on a chilly evening.

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