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Nigerians, 86 other African migrants enroute to Europe drown in Libyan shipwreck

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Nigerians, 86 other African migrants enroute to Europe drown in Libyan shipwreck

The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) reported a devastating incident in which at least 61 migrants are presumed to have perished after their boat sank off the coast of Libya.

Of the approximately 86 individuals on board, including women and children from Nigeria, The Gambia, and other African countries, 25 people were successfully rescued and taken to a Libyan detention centre, according to survivor accounts relayed by the IOM.

The tragic occurrence marks the latest in a series of such disasters off the North African coast.

READ ALSO: Migration: At least 17 Africans drown in shipwreck off Tunis

High waves are believed to have caused the vessel carrying the migrants to capsize after departing from Zuwara, located on Libya’s northwest coast.

The survivors, who were reportedly in good condition, received essential medical support from IOM personnel.

The harrowing incident emphasises the perilous risks that migrants undertake in their desperate attempts to reach Europe via Italy, using Libya and Tunisia as the primary departure points.

As a result, more than 153,000 migrants have arrived in Italy from Tunisia and Libya this year, as reported by the United Nations refugee agency.

The Italian government, led by Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, has taken a hardline stance against illegal immigration, implementing measures to curtail the operations of humanitarian vessels embarking on rescue missions from North Africa.

During a recent visit to Rome, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak expressed support for Meloni’s initiatives and reaffirmed the determination to prevent migrant boat landings on the shores of the UK and Italy, while intensifying efforts to combat human traffickers.

Despite these efforts, the central Mediterranean migration route remains the world’s deadliest, resulting in hundreds of fatalities annually.

According to Flavio Di Giacomo, an IOM spokesperson, more than 2,250 individuals lost their lives on this route this year, underscoring the urgent need for enhanced measures to avert further tragedies at sea.

The recent tragedy is among other profound humanitarian crisis fueled by the protracted violence in Libya following the overthrow and death of dictator Moamer Kadhafi.

The collapse of governance in the aftermath of a NATO-backed uprising has created fertile ground for human traffickers, leading to a range of heinous abuses, including extortion and slavery.

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