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  • African migrants at the Mare Jonio vessel, Mediterranean Sea, August 28, 2019.

    African migrants at the Mare Jonio vessel, Mediterranean Sea, August 28, 2019. | Photo: Twitter/ @rossdaeil

Published 28 August 2019
Opinion

The rescued people were more fortunate that at least 40 Africans who died drowned after their ship sank on Tuesday.

The vessel of the Mediterranea NGO, Mare Jonio, rescued a hundred African migrants who were on a drifting raft off the Libyan coast. Among them are 26 women, 22 children under 10 years and another 6 minors.

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At least 40 Feared Dead in Shipwreck off Libyan Coast

"Our radar identified an overpopulated boat, which was adrift and with a tube already deflated; luckly, we arrived in time to provide help," the Mediterranea said.

"They are all safe on board with us. There are cases of hypothermia and some of them have obvious signs of having being mistreated and tortured in Libya."

After the rescue, the Italian Maritime Coordination Center (MRCC) notified the Mare Jonio, a Italian-flagged vessel, that the Libyan authorities should be contacted to repatriate the Africans.

"If these children are 'national security threats', as someone in the Interior Ministry would have said to prevent the Mare Jonio from entering them into Italian territorial waters, then I can say that we have politicians who have murdered and buried their conscience and humanity." The meme reads, "The Interior Ministry: 'national security threats'."

The Mediterranea NGO, however, explained that it is not willing to take migrants to "a country in civil war, where torture as well as inhuman and degrading treatment happen every day."

The Mare Jonio rescue happened a few hours after 40 African migrants died when their ship, which was carrying 101 people, sank off the coast of Libya. The far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini's "Closed Ports" policy banned the entry of that ship.

Some 900 people have lost their lives attempting to cross the Mediterranean in 2019, according to the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR).

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