114 migrants rescued off Libya coast, says German NGO

A handout picture taken on April 6, 2020, shows members of the German migrant rescue NGO Sea-Eye on board their vessel “Alan Kurdi” during a rescue operation off the Libyan coast. (AFP/Cedric Fettouche/sea-eye.org)

German NGO Sea-Eye said Saturday it had rescued 114 migrants from two vessels stranded off the Libyan coast.

Sea-Eye said its Alan-Kurdi rescue boat first picked up 90 people from an “overloaded rubber boat” before taking aboard a further 24 from a fishing boat.

Eight of those rescued were children and another eight were woman, one of whom was pregnant, according to the NGO.

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“For fear of being picked up by Libyan militia these people did not put out a distress call, putting themselves at high risk,” Sea-Eye president Gorden Isler said.

Jan Ribbeck, Sea-Eye director of operations, said that whereas migrants usually had to choose between the Libyans and the sea they were “now on a German vessel and are finally being treated as human beings.”

The NGO did not indicate where it intended to bring the group ashore.

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This year has seen a renewed spike in the number of vessels, many of them barely seaworthy, taking a chance on reaching Europe.

Attempts from Libya rose by 91 percent from January to July over the same period last year with 14,481 people attempting the risky crossing.

The same period saw 10,174 people make an attempt from Tunisia – a rise of 462 percent on 2019.

At least 300 people have died in the process – though the International Organization for Migration says the figure could be far higher.

Earlier this month, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for the closure of migrant detention centers in Libya, denouncing what he called rights violations committed there in “horrendous conditions.”

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Last Update: Saturday, 19 September 2020 KSA 22:09 - GMT 19:09
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