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Migrant crisis: Scores feared drowned off Libyan coast

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The number trying to reach Italy from Libya declined after a highly criticised EU deal with the Libyan coastguard

Ninety migrants are feared drowned after a boat capsized off the Libyan coast, says the UN’s migration agency.

Three survivors said most of those who drowned were Pakistani nationals.

Libya has for years been a major transit route for migrants trying to reach southern Europe by sea.

But last year the EU reached a controversial deal to provide help to the Libyan coastguard to stop the flow of boats carrying migrants and refugees to Italy.

“Ten bodies are reported to have washed up on Libyan shores,” the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said in a statement.

A spokesperson said Pakistanis were increasingly trying to make the perilous crossing to Italy.

Unusually, there were also Libyans among the dead and survivors, reports the BBC’s North Africa correspondent Rana Jawad.

The Facebook page of the city’s security directorate said a Libyan woman had drowned, but that, of the three survivors, two were Libyan nationals.

Libyans rarely attempt the dangerous and illegal boat journey from their country to southern Europe.

Some cases of illegal Libyan migration were documented last year, but they usually involved sturdier boats that were carrying few people.

 

 

Ref: BBC News

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