Survivors, coastguard say dozens of migrants missing off Libya


In another incident, the Libyan navy said it had also rescued 267 migrants of various African nationalities, off Zawiya to the west of Tripoli. Italian navy and coast guard vessels were involved in the rescue.

All eight victims were female, Liardo said.

Libya has increased efforts to stem the flow of migrants. Unfortunately, we could not trace anybody or other survivors.

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Between 90 and 100 refugees are feared to have drowned in the Mediterranean Sea after their rubber dinghy sank off the coast of Libya. All the immigrants were taken to a naval base in Tripoli after a 12-hour rescue operation. The aid group tweeted that possibly dozens more could be missing from the boat.

Slightly fewer than half as many migrants reached Europe by sea in 2017 than 2016, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said, with curbs finally cutting traffic on the deadly route from Libya to Italy.

Libyan Navy rescued more than 400 illegal immigrants during the past three days off the coast of Garrabulli, some 60 km east of the capital Tripoli. Over 50,000 migrants have landed Italy in 2014.

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Since last summer, the number of migrants coming across the Mediterranean has dropped after the Libyan coast guard, trained and aided by the Italian military, started more aggressively intercepting smugglers' boats shortly after they were launched.

Two years after more than a million people entered the European Union, mostly fleeing war in the Middle East and poverty in Africa, the IOM recorded 171,635 arrivals by boat in 2017.

Human rights advocates, while opposed to trafficking, have criticized that approach, saying it means the mostly sub-Saharan migrants are then trapped in slave-like conditions in detention camps in Libya.

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The International Organization for Migration (IOM) estimated that 2,832 migrants died a year ago trying to reach Italy from North Africa, down from 4,581 in 2016.