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Monday, 8 May 2017

Nearly 200 asylum seekers feared dead off Libya coast

Eleven migrants have died and nearly 200 are missing after two boats carrying asylum seekers sank off the coast of Libya, UN agencies said on Monday citing survivors.


A spokesperson for the United Nations migration agency said more than 193 drowned over the weekend, and that those rescued showed signs of torture.

The Libyan Red Crescent said it had recovered 11 bodies on the shore in Zawiya.

"All the bodies are of female victims and there is a girl of less than one year old," said spokesman Mohanad Krima.

Some 50 survivors were picked up by a Danish container ship, the Alexander Maersk, which was alerted to divert by Italian coastguards and dropped them off on Sunday in Pozzallo, southern Sicily.

Representatives of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) were able to meet them on Monday to hear their accounts.

Survivors told them that women and children were among those missing.

In all more than 6,000 asylum seekers were rescued Friday and Saturday in international waters off the coast of Libya and brought to Italy, while several hundred were rescued in Libyan waters and taken back to Libya.

According to the UN Refugee Agency, more than 1,150 people have died or disappeared since the start of the year while trying to reach European shores from Northern Africa.
 [aljazeera.com]
8/5/17

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