Tripoli – AFP
The Alarm Phone organization reported on Saturday that it had lost contact with 70 migrants it believed to be missing after they boarded a boat leaving western Libya four days ago in an attempt to reach Europe.
“They left Khums (the West) and called Alarm Phone several times,” says the NGO, which runs an emergency telephone line for migrants in difficulty at sea.
“When we lost contact they were in the search and rescue area of Malta, 11 miles (20 km) from Italian waters, but no rescue or arrival has been reported and authorities are silent,” she added on Twitter.
“How can 70 people disappear at sea, a few kilometers from land? What happened to them? Why did the Maltese and Italian authorities first refuse to rescue them and then provide information about their fate?” Alarm Von asked.
Libya is a major transit point for thousands of migrants trying to reach Europe each year via the Italian coast, which is just 300 kilometers from the Libyan coast.
According to a toll published by the International Organization for Migration in early September, at least 1,369 people have died in the Mediterranean since the beginning of the year while trying to reach Europe.