Published: Thu, January 11, 2018
Global | By Shelia Dennis

Libya Rescues 279 Migrants at Sea, but 100 More Are Feared Dead

Libya Rescues 279 Migrants at Sea, but 100 More Are Feared Dead

By contrast, IOM recorded just 26 migrant deaths on the Mediterranean Sea lanes during the just-ended month of December 2017, at a time when Mediterranean migrants deaths were dropping sharply.

The United Nations agency aims to repatriate a further 15,000 migrants from Libya by the end of January.

Slightly fewer than half as many migrants reached Europe by sea in 2017 than 2016, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said, with curbs finally cutting traffic on the deadly route from Libya to Italy.

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Human rights advocates, while opposed to trafficking, have criticized that approach, saying it means the mostly sub-Saharan migrants are then trapped in slave-like conditions in detention camps in Libya.

Some 171,635 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea during that period. Five of those deaths were in Western Mediterranean waters off Spain and Morocco.

"The rescued immigrants survived by clinging to the balloon of the boat until the rescue boat arrived from Sabratha city", said the Navy.

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According to survivors, and a press release by Libya's Coast Guard, about 100 people on board remained missing.

On Sunday, the Libyan navy said it rescued 272 migrants.

IOM said that the dinghies rescued by the Libyan Coast Guard had left from the coastal towns of Azzawiyah and Al Khums and that the survivors are from African countries such as Gambia, Senegal, Sudan, Mali and Nigeria.

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According to an Aljazeera report, the survivors included 19 women and 17 children and majority on the boats came from African countries. "More has to be done to reduce irregular unsafe movements of people along the Central Mediterranean route". The coast guard said there was no confirmation of Libyan authorities' statement that at least 25 migrants had died.

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