Tripoli, 5 Jumadil Akhir 1434/14 April 2013 (MINA) – Libya’s coastguard rescued 89 illegal immigrants off the western port of Zawiya after their boat broke down and five of them died, a naval official told  on Saturday (13/4).

Naval spokesman Colonel Ayub Omar Gacem said a fisherman told authorities a boat carrying illegal immigrants had been adrift for five days, and a coastguard patrol was sent to rescue them, according to Ahram reports monitored by Mi’raj News Agency (MINA).

“Some of the immigrants were taken to hospital when they were brought ashore, while others received medical attention on the spot,” Gacem said.

The media reported that the immigrants, who were from Sub-Saharan Africa, told their rescuers that five people had died while their boat was adrift, and that they had dumped their bodies at sea.

Gacem added that this was the second such incident in two weeks, as Libya’s coastguard saved another 34 people, including women and children, off the west coast.

For many years Libya has been a transit point for immigrants, mostly from Sub-Saharan Africa, looking to travel on to Europe.

On Friday (12/4), Italian coastguards said they had rescued 213 immigrants clinging to two motor-boats.

This brought to 650 the number of illegal immigrants they have rescued so far this year off the shores of the tiny island of Lampedusa, the closest Italian island to Africa.

Sub-Saharan Africa is, geographically, the area of the continent of Africa that lies south of the Sahara. Politically, it consists of all African countries that are fully or partially located south of the Sahara (excluding Sudan).

Contrasts with North Africa, which is considered a part of the Arab world. Somalia, Djibouti, Comoros and Mauritania are geographically part of Sub-Saharan Africa, but also part of the Arab world. (T/P09/P03)

Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)

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