At least 75 migrants died when an irregular boat chartered by mafias on the west coast of Libya with which they tried to cross the Mediterranean and reach the shores of Europe was wrecked, as reported on Saturday by the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
The tragedy, one of the most serious to occur this year on the so-called Central Mediterranean migration route, occurred on Wednesday in front of the city of Zawara, according to the account of 15 survivors who were rescued by a fishing boat and returned to that town. next to the border with Libya.
The sunken boat was one of those that left the beaches that stretch between Zawara and Zawiya on Tuesday night, the base of the different Libyan mafias that, connected to others in the region, profit from smuggling weapons, fuel and people.
On Wednesday, the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) revealed that Libyan patrol boats intercepted a total of 307 people trying to travel to Italy in similar irregular vessels the night before and returned them to the port in Tripoli despite Libya being considered “an unsafe country”.
In a statement, the agency explained that the migrants, including 22 women and eleven children, were disembarked in the port of Tripoli, where the International Red Cross and UNHCR itself provided first aid before the Libyan militias dealt with them. transfer them to detention centers.
About 1,300 dead in 2021
According to data from the International Organization for Migration (IOM), more than 29,400 migrants have been intercepted in the Mediterranean and returned to Libya throughout this year, triple the number during the same period in 2020. In addition, 555 have lost life and 736 have disappeared in various shipwrecks, compared to 381 dead and 597 missing during the previous year.