500 migrants feared drowned off Malta coast


About 500 illegal migrants are believed to have died on the Mediterranean last week when traffickers deliberately sank their boat after an altercation, International Organisation for Migration has said.

The IOM quoting two survivors said, @the traffickers arrived aboard two boats and ordered the migrants to change vessels in the middle of the sea. The migrants said it was too dangerous and refused. There was a violent altercation and the traffickers used their boat to ram the migrants’ boat.”
The migrants included the nationals of Syria, Palestine, Egypt and Sudan.

Meanshile, scores have been reported dead on Monday when their boats drowned while trying to cross to Europe off Libyan coast, according to Libyan Navy.

Navy spokesman Ayub Qassem said 36 people had been rescued after the vessel – which carried 250 – went down near Tajoura, east of Tripoli.

“There are so many dead bodies floating in the sea,” Mr Qassem told reporters.
The navy and coastguard have few resources and often have to borrow boats from fishermen and other agencies.

Mr Qassem said most of the migrants were Africans and many were women.

One of the 36 survivors was a pregnant woman, he told the AP news agency.

This is the fourth boat carrying migrants from Libya to have sunk in the past month.

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