| 16 April 2024, Tuesday |

UN: 22 Malian Migrants Died in Boat Disaster Off Libya

Twenty-two Malian migrants died in a boat disaster off the Libyan coast, the UN said Tuesday, citing survivors who reported victims drowning and dehydrating with three children reportedly among the dead.


After nine days at sea, 61 survivors, mostly from Mali, were rescued by the Libyan coastguard and brought back to shore, the UN’s International Organization for Migration said, with the toll confirmed by Mali’s expatriates ministry.


The migrants embarked from the Libyan city of Zuwara, near the Tunisian border, on a rubber boat, at around 1:00 am (2300 GMT) local time on June 22, said IOM spokeswoman Safa Msehli.


“After nine days at sea, they were picked up by the Libyan coastguard,” she said.


They were brought back to shore on Saturday, AFP reported.


“According to the survivors, 22 migrants, all from Mali, died during the journey. Reported causes of death are drowning and dehydration. Among the dead are three children,” said Msehli.


“The total number of survivors is 61, with the majority from Mali.”


Msehli said some of the migrants were in very bad health and so were taken to hospitals by the IOM.


“The remaining migrants were taken to Al Maya detention center,” she said.


“The (expatriates) ministry offers its condolences in the name of the government to the affected families and to the Malian people for this tragedy,” Mali’s government said in a statement that called on the Malian people to “fight against irregular migration”.


The International Organization for Migration has said that nearly 2,000 migrants drowned or went missing in the Mediterranean in 2021, compared to 1,401 the previous year.


It is the world’s deadliest migration route, but people hoping to build a better life in Europe increasingly risk it.

  • Asharq Al-Awsat