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2009-04-02 Africa North
Libya: Authorities recover more than 100 bodies off coast
[ADN Kronos] Libyan authorities said on Wednesday they have recovered the bodies of more than 100 migrants who drowned after their boat sank off the coast of Libya after it set sail for Italy. Seventy seven bodies washed ashore near the Libyan port city of Sebrata, located west of the capital Tripoli on Tuesday, and at least 23 more were found between Sunday and Tuesday.

However, hundreds more are thought to be missing. The boat was designed to hold 75 people, but officials believe up to 365 boarded the ship.

Reports quoted by Libyan authorities say there were four people-smuggling boats which had sailed from Libya over the weekend. One was rescued after its engine failed on Sunday near a Libyan offshore oilfield.

One of the boats is said to have reached Italy and another one was spotted close to the island of Malta.

The United Nations refugee agency UNHCR expressed shock and sorrow at the reports of the missing migrants.

"This tragic incident illustrates, once again, the dangers faced by people caught in mixed irregular movements of migrants and refugees in the Mediterranean and elsewhere which every year cost thousands of lives," said UNHCR chief spokesman, Ron Redmond.

UNHCR's office in the Italian capital Rome reported two boats have arrived in Italy this week - one carrying 244 people reached Sicily and another with 219 aboard made it to the southernmost island of Lampedusa. It is not clear if either of the boats came from Libya.

Last year, more than 36,000 people arrived in Italy by sea from North Africa. Some 75 percent of them applied for asylum and about 50 percent of those received some form of international protection from the Italian authorities.

Authorities said those aboard included Moroccans and Tunisians as well as migrants from Nigeria, Somalia, Algeri and the Kurdish and Palestinian territories

Italy's interior minister Roberto Maroni claimed on Monday the problem of illegal immigrants from Libya landing on the Italian coast will end in mid-May, when a bilateral agreement to combat illegal immigration enters into force.

Under the bilateral treaty Italy will give Libya millions of dollars in aid while Libya will allow the Italian military conduct joint patrols with its navy in patrolling the country's coasts to intercept people traffickers' boats.
Posted by Fred 2009-04-02 00:00|| E-Mail|| Front Page|| [351 views ]  Top

#1 "This tragic incident illustrates, once again, the dangers faced by people caught in mixed irregular movements of migrants and refugees in the Mediterranean and elsewhere which every year cost thousands of lives,"

It's all your fault, cold-hearted Westerners.
Posted by g(r)omgoru 2009-04-02 05:27||   2009-04-02 05:27|| Front Page Top

#2 the dangers faced by people caught in mixed irregular movements of migrants and refugees in the Mediterranean

UNHCR would of course prefer premium cabins aboard the Norwegian Gem.
Posted by Besoeker 2009-04-02 07:59||   2009-04-02 07:59|| Front Page Top

#3 Why would they leave this desert paradise?
Posted by JohnQC 2009-04-02 17:05||   2009-04-02 17:05|| Front Page Top

08:09 Seeking Cure For Ignorance
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