48 000 flee Libya, Tunisia for Italy

2011-08-16 08:58

Rome - More than 48 000 immigrants from Libya and Tunisia have arrived in Italy since the beginning of the year, Interior Minister Roberto Maroni said on Monday.

Official statistics showed that up to July 31, 24 769 immigrants had come from Tunisia and 23 267 from Libya, many of them originally from sub-Saharan Africa who fled the unrest in their host country.

In the case of Tunisia, there has been contact with the Tunisian government "which has agreed to monitor", the situation, said Maroni, who added that two repatriation flights were taking place every day.

"Ten days ago I met with the National Transitional Council's interior minister but this body has been disbanded," he said of the Libyan situation.

"As long as there is war, immigration control will not be possible," said Maroni whose Northern League party wants a rapid withdrawal from Nato operations in Libya.

The minister spoke of Europe's "insignificant contribution" to the situation but said he did not want to cause a fuss, adding: "We are going to deal with it on our own."

Of the 48 036 immigrants, 13 667 have been repatriated. "We want to reach 30 000 by the end of the year," said Maroni during the interior ministry's annual conference.

Maroni said he signed on Monday an order updating the repatriation assistance guidelines. Among those arriving from Libya claiming asylum "we think 35% to 40% will receive refugee status," he said.

At the weekend around 2 000 migrants arrived on the southern Italian island of Lampedusa, midway between Sicily and the North African coast.

Coastguard meanwhile intercepted 23 would-be immigrants off the Algerian coast overnight on Sunday.

They were arrested on their boat off the Annaba region, where many attempt to flee Algeria for the Italian coast.

  • 2WhiteStars - 2011-08-16 09:28

    A lot of those Tunisians arrived AFTER they toppled the government - what does THAT tell you? Do the words "Islamic invasion of Europe" ring a bell? These people need to be deported.

      Isgaak - 2011-08-16 12:35

      2whitestars you are a complete DO DO all you can think of is Islamic invasion. This is pay back time for invading them a couple of decades ago. Now Europes flooded with refugee seekers. GOD dont sleep

  • beicime - 2011-08-16 11:58

    The AU should be taking care of and helping these people. Instead the AU is BIG TALK about nothing but insulting the people that help the Africans. The more African people is helped the more African leaders are against the helpers.

      Spongebob196 - 2011-08-16 17:32

      You're also a DO DO - Gaddhafi was employing these people and giving them a life, which is why the AU is still supporting him! NATO doesn't give a rat's ass about them ... they can starve to death in Africa, long as they stay the fluck out of Europe, America, and Israel!!!

      slg - 2011-08-17 02:08

      Spongebob, Gadhafi was employing people who would do as he said. Those who didn't were imprisoned, maimed, raped or killed. Where have you been? Just about the whole world can see what's been going on there. This is why just about every country on Earth, with the exception of other rogue nations like Zimbabwe, Iran, Syria and North Korea, have decided Gadhafi is an illegitimate leader and must step down.

  • Lestor - 2011-08-16 15:25

    Turn them around

  • Mthandi111 - 2011-08-16 15:56

    This is what you get for intefering in people's affairs. You bomb Libya people move to Europe. Lesson for Nato

      slg - 2011-08-16 16:41

      Should Libyans have the right to vote and live free from oppression?

      Phillip - 2011-08-27 20:03

      Mthandi111, yes that is true but it is also true that we have had boatloads of illegal Africans trying to escape the misery of Africa from various countries such as Libyans and Tunisians into Italy and Greece, Morrocons into Spain, Ethiopians and Somalis into Yemen and Saudi Arabia. These are not all countries bombing Libya, Tunisia, Morroco,Ethiopia or Somalia....So not based on fact or reality. Why are the boats only heading away from Africa...and none towards it.

  • Spongebob196 - 2011-08-16 17:27

    You asked for this NATO and Italy. A substantial number of these immigrants were gainfully employed by Gaddhafi's regime before NATO stepped in and started bombing everything to "save the rebels". The rest were being controlled by a deal Italy had brokered with LGaddhafi to stop the flow of immigration, on the Libyan side!!

      slg - 2011-08-17 02:09

      No, no, no, you're way off. That's not what's happening at all.

      Phillip - 2011-08-27 20:10

      Spongebob196, I ask you to read the Wikipedia on Libya...Its origins, its history, the various occupations, independance as a Kingdom, The violent take-over by Gaddafi. His 42 year reign and deeds committed that are known and proven. Then you might have a different insight.

  • umhlopo - 2011-08-16 18:35

    Hier kom kak

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