More than 900 Africans fleeing Libya rescued off Sicily

2011-05-31 08:49

Pozzallo – At least 960 migrants who had been drifting at sea for four days after leaving Libya on a small fishing vessel were rescued today by the Italian coast guard off Sicily.

“At first we couldn’t believe so many people were crammed on a boat, which was just over 20m long,” said the coast guard commander in Pozzallo, Francesco Fallica.

The group of mostly sub-Saharan Africans, including 130 women and 40 children, were taken to a reception centre in Pozzallo where their health was being assessed.

“We don’t believe anyone on board was seriously ill,” Fallica said.

In recent months, thousands of people fleeing the conflict in Libya have crossed the Mediterranean and arrived in Italy, mainly on the tiny island of Lampedusa.

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