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Coast guards recover dozens of bodies of drowned migrants off Libya's coast

ANI | Updated: Jul 27, 2019 04:38 IST

Tripoli [Libya], July 27 (ANI): The coast guards here on Friday recovered dozens of bodies of Europe-bound migrants, a day after roughly 150 people, including women and children, went missing when their boats capsized in the Mediterranean Sea.
Fox News confirmed that up to 350 migrants were on board boats that capsized on Thursday off the town of Khoms, around 75 miles east of Tripoli, in an incident described by a UN official as the "worst Mediterranean tragedy" of the year to date after quoting Libya's Anti-Illegal Immigration Agency.
The migrants include nationals from Eritrea, Egypt, Sudan and Libya.
Libyan officials were also quoted as saying that more than 130 migrants have been rescued since Thursday, and at least a dozen were taken to a hospital in Khoms while the rest were transferred to different detention centers located near the front lines of conflict between rival Libyan factions.
One of the survivors, from Eritrea, said his vessel started to capsize after an hour of sailing. Most of the migrants on board were women, he said, and most of them drowned.
"All of them (who drowned) were ladies... only two girls rescued themselves," he noted.
However, the UN migration agency said later on Friday a few migrants were turned back from the detention center, and they were instead being "released gradually" into the town of Tajoura.
Followingly, Amnesty International called on European Union leaders to "show some courage" and reverse their decision to halt migrant rescues in the Mediterranean.
The rights group also called on European nations to change "their approach to a humane one which saves lives and doesn't condemn those who survive to detention in Libya."
"People are still risking their lives to come to Europe," said Amnesty's Massimo Moratti.
After the NATO-backed uprising that toppled and killed longtime ruler Moammar Gadhafi in 2011, Libya became a major conduit for African migrants and refugees seeking a better life in Europe. Traffickers and armed groups have exploited Libya's chaos since his overthrow, and have been implicated in widespread abuses of migrants, including torture and abduction for ransom. (ANI)