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Libyan migration disaster: More than 900 rescued as situation worsens

More than 900 African and Asian migrants – together with at the very least 25 minors and 7 pregnant ladies – en path to Europe have been rescued by a Libyan Coast Guard patrol, Al-Monitor reports.

A navy spokesman for the embattled North African nation, Gen. Ayoub Qassem, said Saturday that the coast guard seized 5 inflatable boats and a picket vessel.

“One of the rubber boats was holed and on the purpose of sinking,” Qassem mentioned. “While the picket one didn’t have a motor.”

The potential catastrophe being averted is a slim silver lining within the in any other case deepening migration and drowning disaster encircling Libyan waters. People smugglers have taken benefit of the disarray within the battle-torn nation since 2011, when their dictatorial chief Muammar Qaddafi was killed.

The nation has since been and not using a secure authorities as numerous factions battle for authority, however, regardless of the protection dangers the nation presents, the overwhelming majority of smuggling routes from Africa go by Libya.

Last weekend alone, in keeping with the United Nations, extra than 50 migrants – largely from sub-Sahara Africa – went lacking at sea and an extra 2,500 had been rescued leaving Libya on feeble dinghies. An further eight had been discovered lifeless. Two weeks earlier than, the Libyan Coast Guard allegedly shot at a migrant-filled boat — prompting many to leap overboard, and resulting in the deaths of all 34, together with kids.

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And earlier this month, a video emerged showing to indicate a number of Somalis and Ethiopians – crushed and starved, crowded and frightened – in a concrete room the place they’re allegedly being held for ransom by prison Libyan gangs. Some captives claimed to have had their bones damaged and enamel pulled out, and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) mentioned relations of some had obtained calls for for ransom funds as much as $10,000 in any other case “their little one or relative will probably be killed.”

The IOM and quite a few human rights teams have for the previous six years repeatedly condemned the therapy of migrants and refugees by the hands of traffickers as they go by the unruly Libya and into the Mediterranean Sea by typically unsafe and mass-filled boats sure for Italy.

Yet regardless of the worldwide consideration directed towards the refugee catastrophe within the sea after which flooding Europe in recent times, it’s in lots of respects persevering with to worsen. IOM claims that the quantity trying to cross the Mediterranean this yr has risen in contrast with years previous – and had already reached extra than 60,500 by the top of May with extra than 1,500 recorded deaths.


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