70 Libya migrants missing in Mediterranean
Published: 01:21 PM, 3 October 2021
A boat carrying 70 migrants headed for Europe across the Mediterranean from Libya went missing, the independent support group Alarm Phone said on Saturday.
Besides, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) said 89 migrants were rescued and two bodies were recovered and brought to the Libyan capital Tripoli Saturday, however, 40 more were still missing.
AFP reported that it was not immediately clear whether the two organizations were talking about the “same group of migrants”.
Alarm Phone said a boat with 70 people on board had been missing for four days after leaving the port of Khoms, 120 kilometers (75 miles) west of the capital.
“When we lost contact, they were in Malta SAR (search and rescue) zone, 11 miles (18 kilometers) to Italian waters, but there is no record of their rescue or arrival. Authorities are silent,” the Alarm Phone also said, criticizing the authorities of Malta and Italy.
“Why did Maltese and Italian authorities refuse first to rescue, then to provide information on their fate? Were the 70 people left to die? Were they secretly pushed back to #Libya? We demand answers!” it said in a Twitter message.
The UNHCR, on the other hand, said in a tweet that the 89 survivors brought to Tripoli on Saturday included eight women and three children.
The agency said 40 more were “missing after the group set off on a hazardous journey in wooden and rubber boats”.
Tens of thousands of people seek to cross the central Mediterranean each year, normally setting off from Libya and aiming for the Italian coast, but it is often a deadly journey.
At least 1,369 people have died on the route so far this year, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said in early September. - AFP