AFPSaturday, Aug 23, 2014

170 migrants feared lost at sea off Libya: coastguard

The body of an illegal immigrant floats on the water after a boat carrying 200 illegal migrants from sub-Saharan Africa sank off the shores of al-Qarbole, some 60 kilometers east of the Libyan capital Tripoli, on August 22, 2014.

TRIPOLI - A Libyan coastguard official said on Friday a boat carrying 200 illegal migrants from sub-Saharan Africa was feared lost at sea off the capital Tripoli, with 170 people still missing.

Libya, which is mired in unrest and political chaos, has been a launchpad for illegal migrants seeking a better life in Europe but who turn to people smugglers to get them across the Mediterranean.

Since the end of July, dozens of people who have set off on rickety boats from the Libyan coast have died at sea, and dozens more have gone missing, presumed drowned.

"We are looking for 170 African passengers on a wooden boat that has foundered off the Guarabouli area" some 60 kilometres (35 miles) east of Tripoli, coastguard official Abdellatif Mohammed Ibrahim told AFP.

"A few miles off the coast, we found the remains of a wooden boat which had some 200 migrants on board," he said.

"We managed to save 16 people and recovered 15 bodies, but the search continues for some 170 people who disappeared at sea," Ibrahim told AFP.

He said the coastguard was lacking in resources, and had only one patrol boat to search for the missing people.

An AFP journalist reported seeing the body of a child who was nevertheless wearing a life-jacket.

The coastguard official was unable to give any firm details of the nationalities of the victims or survivors, but added: "It seems that among them are Somalis and Eritreans."

People smugglers thrive

People smugglers have been thriving in Libya, an oil-rich nation marred by unrest and political rivalries and where the interim government lacks the manpower and resources to monitor the coast properly.

On Thursday, Tunisian fishermen rescued 75 migrants who had been drifting at sea for five days after leaving Libya aboard an inflatable in an attempt to reach Italy.

The migrants were in a state of extreme fatigue by the time they made landfall in Zarzis, in southern Tunisia, where emergency services took charge of them, an AFP correspondent reported.

Earlier this month, Tunisian coastguards intercepted 90 African migrants whose makeshift boat heading from Libya for the Italian island of Lampedusa broke down off Zarzis.

In July more than 20 migrants drowned while dozens disappeared at sea when their boat capsized off the Libyan coast. Survivors said there had been 150 people on board.

In June, Italian sailors recovered the bodies of 10 migrants after their rubber dinghy sank off Libya, while dozens others were rescued.

On August 12, EU border agency Frontex said the number of boat migrants arriving in Italy soared 500 per cent in the first half of the year, already topping a 2011 record during the Arab Spring uprisings.

The Warsaw-based agency said 78,300 people had arrived in the European Union by the end of July via the hazardous Mediterranean route from Libya to mainly Italy, but also Malta.

"Libya is highly unstable as it is now, and that means that the people-smuggling networks are flourishing," Frontex spokeswoman Izabella Cooper told AFP.

- See more at: http://news.asiaone.com/news/world/170-migrants-feared-lost-sea-lib...

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Great Benin Bronze

EDE N'ERHENA VBE EDO

"

These anti-Edo political organizations you folks went to join are the most anti-African - and Africans - in the world.

They're worse than anything; we obviously can't stop you though, even Ewuare II's manifest destiny lies in our own regional party.

We have egba Omo Oduduwa and so on, NPC, AG, the forerunner of them all NCNC and then now these cancers of today.

Stay "with them", but register for your most important election first: your local election, register Edo Political Front, and if you don't, vote the front.

No self respecting Edo will - in the future - find themselves the flag bearers and cheerleaders of foreign parties with indirect rule political and economic mandates, it just doesn't work.

No sane Edo person lives to "have the ear" of someone who doesn't have Edo at their heart.

The Supreme Court is the place to remove the frustration of these lethargic and "periodic" additions to the voting rolls; here - where I live - you can fill in the forms regarding changing your voter registration at the post office and other easy access places.

At the rate things are going we're going to find ourselves truly in decline as our populations suffer from simple things like protein deficiencies in children

" - Reggie Akpata

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