Free Press Journal

40 illegal immigrants dead off Libyan coast

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Tripoli: At least 40 illegal immigrants died while 319 were rescued off the Libyan coast in the Mediterranean Sea on Saturday, the media reported. The Italian coast guard found an overcrowded fishing ship with at least 40 illegal migrants dead of suffocation, reported Xinhua news agency.

Massimo Tozzi, commander of the marine unit “Cigala Fulgosi”, said the victims might have died after inhaling exhaust gas on the boat. Italian Interior Minister Angelino Alfano told the international community that Saturday’s tragedy will not be the last one if the problems in Libya are not solved.

Four years after the civil war which toppled former leader Muammar Gaddafi, Libya descended into anarchy leaving a power vacuum in most of its territories, forcing migrants to try to leave for new venues by sea. According to the International Organisation for Migration, an estimated 150,000 migrants have reached Europe by sea by mid July 2015, many of them from Libya.