By Libya Herald reporter.
Tripoli, 20 March 2016:
Some 1,130 illegal migrants who set sail from Libya and whose boats got into difficulties . . .[restrict]were rescued between Wednesday and Saturday, according to the Libya navy.
The largest group, comprising 586 migrants, mostly sub-Saharan Africans but also some Bangladeshis, was rescued yesterday morning, according to navy spokesman Ayyub Gassem. Among them, he said were 11 children and 60 women, some of them pregnant, with three of them miscarrying during the rescue. The bodies of four other women who drowned were also recovered, he added, while others – the figure is put at around 30 – were still missing.
The migrants who had set off in four boats had to be rescued some two kilometres offshore from Sabratha, Gassem explained, adding that during the rescue operation one of the migrants’ boats sank.
The navy, he said, had been called in by the Zawia Coast Guard, unable to cope
The rescue followed four others in a row. On Wednesday, 129 migrants were also rescued off Sabratha. Again in the same area the following morning, a further 187, sailing in two boats, had to be rescued. One of the boats caught fire. According to the navy spokesman, 43 people were burned, 17 of whom are in critical condition.
Later on Thursday, 123 were rescued, also off Sabratha. On Friday a further 117 were rescued.
Separately, more than more than 900 migrants were plucked from the sea between Tunisia and Sicily in four rescues operations yesterday.
With winter at an end and calmer weather in the Mediterranean, the number of migrant crossings is again expected to soar. EU foreign policy head Federica Mogherini has said that as many as 450,000 people are currently in Libya waiting the chance to make the crossing.