Pakistanis among 57 die as two migrant boats sink near Libya

Canada Global (Web News) Two migrant boats capsized in the Mediterranean off the coast of several towns in western Libya, leaving at least 57 bodies behind, a coast guard officer and an aid worker reported on Tuesday.

One survivor, Bassam Mahmoud from Egypt, claimed that one of the boats that departed for Europe at around 2 a.m. on Tuesday carried roughly 80 passengers. He claimed that when the boat was sinking, there was an argument, but the captain refused to intervene.

“Until someone caught up with us, we kept battling. Some died (in the sea) in front of me, and the scene was horrifying, he told Reuters.

According to coast guard officer Fathi al-Zayani, eleven bodies, including one that of a child, were found off the coast of Qarabulli in eastern Tripoli.

He said that the refugees originated in Pakistan, Syria, Tunisia, and Egypt. 46 bodies had been discovered on the beach in the preceding six days, according to a Red Crescent aid worker in Sabratha, in western Tripoli; all of them were “illegal migrants” from a single boat.

Images of aid workers carrying human remains in black bags at the back of pickup trucks while wearing gloves and face masks were posted online by the Sabratha Red Crescent organisation.

The aid worker added that more bodies were likely to wash ashore in the coming days. The International Organisation for Migration reports that in the first three months of 2023, 441 migrants and refugees drowned in the Mediterranean Sea while attempting to cross from North Africa to Europe, setting a record for a three-month period in the previous six years.

Ten years after removing Muammar Gaddafi in an uprising backed by NATO in 2011, Libya became the main entry point for mostly African migrants wanting to migrate into Europe.

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