200 migrants from Nigeria, others drown in Mediterranean

Migrants at sea
Migrant boat used to illustrate the story [Photo credit: CBC]

It was a tragic start to New Year for migrants from Nigeria and other countries as hundreds of them crossing to Italy and Spain were feared dead in the Mediterranean Sea, the International Organisation for Migration, IOM, has said.

IOM’s Public Information Officer in Libya, Christine Petré, reported that the boats carrying the migrants departed from the coastal towns of Azzawiyah and Al Khums in Libya.

“Most of the survivors hail from African countries, including Senegal, Mali and Nigeria. The Libyan Cost Guard reported that eight were from Bangladesh while two were from Pakistan,” Petré said.

According to IOM, and a report released by Libya’s Coast Guard, about 100 people on board remain missing.

The UN migration agency said its officials were present at the disembarkation point in Tripoli and provided the survivors with food and water.

Othman Belbeisi, Chief of IOM Libya Mission, said on Wednesday that about 200 migrants or refugees had died or gone missing in the Mediterranean Sea with up to 100 unaccounted for since Saturday.

“It’s very distressing that during the first 10 days of 2018 we have seen close to 800 migrants rescued or intercepted off the Libyan coast, with more lives lost at sea.

“More has to be done to reduce irregular unsafe movements of people along the Central Mediterranean route,” Belbeisi said.

According to him, the tragedy came at a time when Mediterranean migrants’ death dropped sharply as IOM recorded only 26 on the Mediterranean Sea lanes in December 2017.

Mr. Belbeisi said while January 2017 had witnessed some 254 deaths, this week’s reports suggest that the start of 2018 may be even deadlier.

IOM reported on Tuesday that 81 Mediterranean Sea deaths of migrants or refugees were recorded in the first eight days of the year with five in Western Mediterranean waters off Spain and Morocco and the rest between Italy and Libya.

In the latest, and third deadliest, shipwreck in the Mediterranean since Saturday, the Libyan Coast Guard rescued three rubber boats with 279 migrants made up of 19 women, 243 men, 13 boys and four girls, in an operation lasting at least 12 hours.

The UN migration agency said it continued to provide support and direct humanitarian assistance to the survivors of this latest tragedy, many of whom now are at Libya’s Tajoura detention centre. (NAN)


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  • jide

    i feel sorry for them

    • Epsilon_Delta

      Honestly I don’t feel pity for them. The warnings are loud and clear, just like it was for mmm folks. Ignore your safety and abundant warnings at your own peril.

  • Julius

    The only way to stop this mass exodus of Africans is for the countries of Europe to place a VISA ban on all government officials, their children, close relatives and known friends etc…and this should include barring their children from studying in their countries (Europe & US) as well as receiving medical treatment. If these are done, the African misLeaders will be forced to make sure they all fix their countries because they will be directly affected by the rot.

    • Waandu

      Because your country is not “fixed” you go and die in the Mediterranean? Thirty years ago, African countries were “unfixed” but no one was crossing the Mediterranean. What has changed?

    • Lanre

      Spot on. This Animals who call themselves leaders would be checked if sanctions as u have enumerated are placed on them and their families. Their crime of neglect and lack of vision are akin to terrorism because the direct and indirect consequences of their action/inaction are quite terrifying.

    • FreeNigeria

      SO TRUE. They are not LEADERS, but DICTATORS

  • linkhadj.

    No sympathy for anybody who voluntarily and intentionally elect to die on the sea or enslave himself in Libya under the excuse of harsh conditions in the country. Even though life is a risk, but some risks are too obvious for any reasonable person to take. Abeg, let somebody give me the update on herdsmen issue.

  • Otile

    Eledumare ma je o. Since Imam Buhari made his way to Aso Dutshe incalculable number of Nigerians have lost there lives, more maimed and so many others dying of hunger and preventable diseases. Buhari brought with him hard luck in various ways: Immediately he came in he padded the budget and recalled Maina. Then a creeping recession set in, his Fulani nomads started their rampage whereby thousands of people in the East and Middle Belt are weekly beheaded. Buhari himself dispatched soldiers to the East to decimate people in Onitsha, Enugu, and Umuahia. He also dispatched soldiers to capture the Shiites leader and decimate their worshipers. Since his coming most Nigerians have suffered economic degradation. starvation, misery, many have fled the country but perish in the seas, at the hands of slave dealers. Above all Buhari’s incompetency has caused the Zulus and Arabs to fatally attack and enslave hapless Nigerians. Unfortunately misery is bound to continue until Mohamed Buhari leaves Aso Dutshe with his bad luck.

  • thusspokez

    I can only extends my sympathy to the families who have lost their love ones, but as for the dead, I have no sympathy for the adults at all. Why should anyone show you sympathy if you decided to jump off a cliff? Some of these Nigerians may not even have seen a river except perhaps in books and TV, and yet there they are, trying to cross an ocean.

    I see Nigerian women who are very pregnant; I see a whole family with toddlers and teens. A rational person would leave the little ones with their families back home and try to reach Europe, settle down before sending for their children but not these fóóls.

    Further, if they can afford thousands of dollars to pay smugglers, why could they use that money to start a small business in Nigeria instead of going to Europe where all they will find — if they are allowed to work — is low-paid, part-time jobs, with wages not even enough to live on, let alone send something home?