“Libyan coast refugees’ deaths must stop” Government laments


Another disaster to be corrected as the Central Mediterranean route from Libya now becomes the deadliest crossing in the world Reuters. About 30 migrants have been found dead in a boat drifting off the coast of Libya as the number of refugees dying in attempts to reach Europe continues to increase.

Recently, Fishermen found the bodies of 28 people, including four children, in waters near the smuggling hub of Sabratha just after more than 8,300 asylum seekers were rescued over the Easter weekend.

“Their boat stopped in the middle of the water because the engine was broken,” said Ahmaida Khalifa Amsalam, the interior ministry’s security commander.

He further expained that the victims appeared to have died of thirst and hunger after their vessel was left drifting in the Mediterranean.They were eventually buried in a cemetery dedicated to migrants whose bodies are regularly washed up on the coast of Libya.

It has been confirmed that smugglers have increasingly resorted to packing migrants into weak dinghies that are unable to survive the crossing to Europe, with some being intercepted and forced back by the Libyan coastguard. Others are rescued by EU officials and aid agencies while many sinking.

This recent tragic discovery was the latest incident of refugees being found dead inside boats, information were reached that engines are being removed or sabotaged at sea.

In Feburary, the bodies of 74 migrants were washed ashore near Zawiyah in another boat disaster. Also, the bodies of more than 70 migrants washed up in a dinghy in Zawiyah earlier this year in what aid agencies suggested to be“deliberate punishment or murder of migrants”. Joel Millman, from the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), explained that boat’s engine was believed to have been removed at sea, possibly by smugglers or armed gangs.

“A rescue in the open sea cannot be a ticket to Europe, because it hands organised traffickers every argument to persuade people to flee for economic reasons,” (Stopping crossings to Europe)is the only way to end the tragic and senseless deaths in the Mediterranean.” Interior minister Wolfgang Sobotka said.

It has been recorded that more than 5,000 refugees were drowned, suffocated or died of hypothermia at sea in 2016 – the vast majority on the Central Mediterranean route from Libya, which is now the deadliest crossing in the world.

That total is expected to be surpassed this year, with the official UN death toll already nearing 1,000 even before the start of the peak season.

In order to put a stop to this disaster, European leaders met in Malta earlier this year to discuss efforts to stem the crisis but resolutions to increase funding and support for Libyan authorities were criticised amid allegations of widespread human rights abuses.

Also, Nato has received a request from the fragile Libyan Government of National Accord for support, while Italy has pledged millions of euros in funding for anti-smuggling initiatives.

However, the country remains divided between battling militias accused of kidnapping, torturing, detaining and ransoming migrants or forcing them into labour and prostitution as a source of income. This has resulted to its citizens securing all means to move out of the country.

Mr Di Giacomo, an IOM spokesman in Italy, said smugglers were using the threat of fresh patrols to coerce their customers into crossing. He further explained that smugglers were known to force refugees into boats at gunpoint and beat any with concerns over the flimsy vessels.

“A lot of them never wanted to go to Europe, they wanted to work in Libya and then they got stuck and abused. They see crossing the Mediterranean as the only way out.”

Libyan government is on the run to improve its economy situation. It has been confirmed that an improved economy system will lead to better standards of living. This will eventually encourage its citizens to stay in the country.

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