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50 migrants found dead in a ship near Libya

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Rome: The bodies of at least 50 migrants have been found in the hold of a craft off the Libyan coast, the Italian coast guard said on Wednesday. The boat was sailing with 439 people on board some 50 km north of the Libyan coast, and received assistance in the early afternoon from Swedish ship Poseidon patrolling the Mediterranean as part of the European Union (EU) rescue mission Triton, a coast guard spokesman told Xinhua.

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About 50 bodies were found in the hold of the boat, the official added. It was the second major incident of the kind in 10 days. On August 15, the Italian navy had rescued some 312 migrants crammed in a boat off the Libyan coast, and 49 people had been found dead in the hold, apparently killed by the lack of air and fuel fumes.

Survivors of this incident gave their testimony to Italian prosecutors, helping authorities to identify and arrest eight alleged human smugglers, namely four Libyans, three Moroccans, and one Syrian national, who are currently in jail in Catania. Overall, the naval rescue forces coordinated by the Italian coast guard received 10 emergency calls since Wednesday morning, and all of them coming from migrant craft in difficulty in the waters north of Libya.

A coffin, containing the body of an unidentified migrant, is carried off the Irish Navy ship LE Niamh in the Sicilian harbour of Messina, Italy July 29, 2015. REUTERS/Antonio Parrinello
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Italy’s ship Fiorillo saved 112 people aboard an inflatable, and one migrant on board was found dead, the coast guard said. Another 225 people on an inflatable were rescued by a merchant vessel involved in the operations. At least three migrant craft carrying between 500 and 600 people each received assistance from an Irish naval ship, and vessels from Doctors Without Borders and Migrant Offshore Aid Station humanitarian organisations. Rescue operations were still underway until Wednesday afternoon, the coast guard added.

(IANS)

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Libya Militias Conscript Migrants to Work in Weapons Workshop

For months they were sent day and night to a workshop inside the Tajoura detention center

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Migrants, Libya Militias, Weapons
Debris covers the ground after an airstrike at a detention center in Tajoura, east of Tripoli in Libya, Wednesday, July 3, 2019. VOA

Migrants who survived the deadly airstrike on a Libyan detention center say they had been conscripted by a local militia to work in an adjacent weapons workshop.

Two migrants told The Associated Press on Thursday that for months they were sent day and night to a workshop inside the Tajoura detention center, which housed hundreds of African migrants.

A young migrant who has been held for nearly two years at Tajoura says “we clean the anti-aircraft guns. I saw a large amount of rockets and missiles too.”

The migrants spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal.

Migrants, Libya Militias, Weapons
Migrants who survived the deadly airstrike on a Libyan detention center say they had been conscripted. Pixabay

Libya’s warring parties are trading accusations for Wednesday’s strike, which killed at least 44 migrants.

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Aid agencies say even after the strikes, there is no plan for evacuating the facility. (VOA)