Libya recovers five bodies, picks up 185 migrants

A total of 900 migrants have been intercepted or rescued by the Libyan navy since Wednesday. (AFP/File)
Updated 23 June 2018
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Libya recovers five bodies, picks up 185 migrants

  • The bodies were recovered from an inflatable boat packed with migrants that got into trouble
  • Two coast guard patrols carried out different operations on Friday, picking up 91 migrants in one group and 94 in the second

Tripoli: Libyan coast guards have recovered the bodies of five migrants and picked up 185 survivors off its western coast, a spokesman said on Saturday.

The migrants, who were rescued about 24 km off the town of Qarabulli, were trying to cross the Mediterranean to Europe in two boats, the Libyan navy said Saturday. Those who lost their lives were from Sudan, Nigeria, Chad and Egypt.

The bodies were recovered from an inflatable boat packed with migrants that got into trouble, the coast guard spokesman Ayoub Qassem told Reuters.

A day earlier, three children and nine women were among 94 migrants rescued on Friday when their inflatable dinghy sank 12 nautical miles from Garabulli, east of the capital Tripoli.

“The migrants are from different sub-Saharan countries including three children and nine women,” he said.

Two coast guard patrols carried out different operations on Friday, picking up 91 migrants in one group and 94 in the second, Qassem said.

A total of 900 migrants have been intercepted or rescued by the Libyan navy since Wednesday as departures pick up due to favorable weather.

Usually in such cases the migrants are taken to detention centers pending repatriation.

Libya’s western coast is the main departure point for migrants fleeing wars and poverty and trying to reach Europe, although the number of crossings has sharply dropped since last July due to a more active coast guard presence with support from the EU.

Libya descended into chaos following the NATO-backed uprising that toppled Muammar Qaddafi in 2011, with many armed groups and two administrations vying for power.

Most migrants try to head across the Mediterranean toward Italy, hoping they will be picked up by ships run by aid groups and taken there, although many drown before they are rescued.

Earlier this month, Italy’s anti-immigrant interior minister, Matteo Salvini, vowed to no longer let charity ships offload rescued migrants in Italy, leaving one ship stranded at sea for several days with more than 600 migrants until Spain offered them safe haven.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will try on Sunday to persuade other EU leaders to agree on a common policy on migrants, although her chances of winning support from all 28 member states are deemed slim.


Sudan police fire tear gas at Khartoum rally

Updated 5 min 25 sec ago
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Sudan police fire tear gas at Khartoum rally

  • Protesters pressed on with their campaign against the rule of President Omar Al-Bashir
  • Witnesses said small demonstrations also took place in other districts of the capital

KHARTOUM: Sudanese police fired tear gas on Sunday at an anti-government rally in the capital, witnesses said, as protesters pressed on with their campaign against the rule of President Omar Al-Bashir.
Scores of protesters took to the streets in Khartoum’s northern suburb of Bahari chanting anti-government slogans, but they were quickly confronted by riot police.
“We will not give up. We will continue protesting,” said Afra, a female protester who gave only her first name for security reasons.
“When we keep on demonstrating, more and more people will join us.”
Witnesses said small demonstrations also took place in other districts of the capital, and that police arrested several protesters.
Deadly clashes during protests have rocked the east African country since December 19 after a government decision to triple the price of bread.
The protests quickly escalated into nationwide rallies against Bashir’s iron-fisted rule, with protesters calling for him to resign after three decades in power.
Officials say 31 people have died in protest-related violence so far, while Human Rights Watch says at least 51 have been killed.
Bashir has remained defiant, insisting that the only way to change the government is through the ballot box.
Sudan is to hold a presidential election in 2020, and Bashir is considering running for a third elected term.