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The New Arab

At least 90 migrants feared dead off Libya's coast

More than 3,000 people died trying to reach Europe from Libya last year [Getty]

Date of publication: 2 February, 2018

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More than 90 migrants are feared dead after a boat capsized off Libya's coast as they attempted to cross the Mediterranean Sea.
Over 90 people are feared dead in the latest migrant tragedy in the Mediterranean Sea after a boat capsized off the coast of Libya on Friday, the UN migration agency has said.

"At least 90 migrants are reported to have drowned when a boat capsized off the coast of Libya this morning," in a statement released by the International Organisation for Migration. 

"Ten bodies are reported to have washed up on Libyan shores," it added.

Among the dead are two Libyans and eight Pakistani nationals.

The migration agency also said that three survived after two swam to shore and another was rescued by a fishing boat.

The number of migrants and asylum seekers crossing the western Mediterranean Sea to Europe this year is likely to increase, after 2017 closed with more than twice the traffic of the previous year, warned Europe’s border watchdog last month.

Over the years, thousands of migrants have attempted to cross the 12-kilometre (7.5 mile) frontier between Melilla and Morocco.

Others have navigated the eight-kilometre border at Ceuta, by climbing the border fences, swimming along the coast, or hiding in vehicles.

Around 2,583 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea last year, and 199 others died en route.

This year has seen 218 migrants, excluding Friday’s tragedy, die on the central route according to IOM figures, and 28 migrants on the western route that links North Africa to Spain. 

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