At least 126 migrants feared dead in the Mediterranean

TMP – 06/07/2017

At least 126 migrants are feared to have died in the Mediterranean a few hours after their boat set off from the Libyan coast the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has reported

The two Sudanese and two Nigerian survivors said that there had been 130 people, mostly Sudanese, onboard the rubber boat when it set off from Libya

They claim that after a few hours at sea a group of Libyans arrived and stole the boat’s motor. As it floated without an engine, waves engulfed the overloaded boat and it sank.

“They described [the Libyans] as pirates, but they are basically traffickers,” IOM spokesman Flavio Di Giacomo said.

The four surviving men were eventually rescued by the Italian coastguard and taken to Sicily.

“They were in shock, traumatized by what had happened, and exhausted,” Di Giacomo said.

“Leaving a dinghy out at sea without an engine is tantamount to murder,” he continued.

“We believe the motor was stolen either by smugglers who launched the dinghy in the first place or by a rival group. In the last six months we’ve seen an increase in the number of dinghies having their engines stolen. They are valuable to the smugglers,” he added.