Bod­ies of 117 refugees wash up on Libyan beach

Pakistan Observer - - PAGE 07 -

TRIPOLI—At least 117 bod­ies, many women, were pulled from the sea off Libya af­ter a smug­gling boat of mostly African refugees sank, while a sep­a­rate search-and-res­cue op­er­a­tion across the Mediter­ranean saved 340 peo­ple Fri­day and re­cov­ered nine bod­ies. Smug­glers have ex­ploited the chaos grip­ping Libya since the 2011 up­ris­ing that over­threw dic­ta­tor Moam­mar Gad­hafi to traf­fic mi­grants across the Mediter­ranean Sea to Europe. It is a lu­cra­tive busi­ness for the smug­glers, who cram mi­grants into boats that are small and un­safe for the per­ilous jour­ney to Italy, just 190 miles from Libya’s shores.

This is a cross-border net­work of smug­glers and traf­fick­ers, and there is a need for an in­ter­na­tional ef­fort to com­bat this phe­nom­e­non.

As traf­fick­ers take ad­van­tage of the im­prov­ing weather, of­fi­cials say, it is im­pos­si­ble to know how many un­sea­wor­thy boats are be­ing launched daily — and how many never reach their des­ti­na­tion. The de­vel­op­ments were the lat­est deadly dis­as­ters for refugees and mi­grants seek­ing a bet­ter life in Europe, and they fol­lowed the drown­ing of the more than 1,000 peo­ple since May 25 who have at­tempted the long and per­ilous jour­ney from North Africa to South­ern Europe.— Agencies

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