Libya: 140 illegal migrants feared dead off Libyan coast

1st Sep 2015
Libya: 140 illegal migrants feared dead off Libyan coast

TRIPOLI, (AA): The bodies of around 40 illegal migrants were recovered late Sunday after their boat sank in the Mediterranean sea off the coast of Libya’s Al-Khums city, a Libyan official said Monday.

“Around 140 illegal migrants are feared dead,” Nasser Oneiba, an officer from Libya’s Illegal Migration Administration, told Anadolu Agency, adding that the boat in which they had been travelling had been carrying about 200 people.

Oneiba went on to complain of the poor facilities available to rescue migrants from possible death-at-sea.

“We’re working on a volunteer basis, not like an official institution run by the state,” he said.

Last week, the Libyan Red Crescent announced the recovery of 37 bodies near Al-Khums, while another 119 bodies were recovered near the city of Zuwara.

In the first six months of this year alone, more than 2,350 would-be migrants and/or refugees have died off the North African country’s coast while trying to reach the shores of Europe.

According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the number stood at 2,081 for the same period last year.

Yet despite these grim statistics, more than 255,000 migrants and refugees have successfully made the voyage to Europe by sea so far this year, the IOM says.

Of these, nearly 100,000 came from war-torn Syria, more than 25,000 from Eritrea, and some 32,000 from violence-wrecked Afghanistan, according to IOM figures.

Author: Mahmoud Barakat
[Photo: African origin illegal migrants, who wanted to go to Europe, are seen on a boat after being caught by the Coast Guard Forces 18 miles away the Libya coast on June 6, 2015. Photographer: Hazem Turkia/Anadolu Agency]

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