Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

EYE ON AFRICA

Measures in place to prevent Grace Mugabe leaving South Africa

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Terror in Barcelona

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Terror attack, Trump turmoil rattle stock markets

Read more

FRENCH CONNECTIONS

Malbouffe: understanding junk food à la française

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Lebanon repeals 'rape law', but activists say more is needed to protect women

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

US business leaders abandon Trump after Charlottesville

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'Why do French people smoke so much?'

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Trump's 'unprecedented transgression'

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

Kenya’s opposition leader to take poll dispute to Supreme Court

Read more

Italian navy rescues stranded immigrants

Latest update : 2008-08-11

The Italian navy has picked up 191 African immigrants stranded in the Mediterranean without food or water. One mayor says Italian sailors are becoming "taxi drivers" for traffickers.


A total of 191 African immigrants were rescued overnight by the Italian navy after drifting for three days some 60 nautical miles off the Libyan coast, without water or fuel.

UNHCR spokeswoman Laura Boldrini told FRANCE 24 on Thursday that most of the people stranded on the inflatable boat had come from Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Sudan, and were probably trying to reach Italy to request political asylum.

"I have just been told that a patrol boat from the Italian Navy is on its way to rescue them," said Boldrini. "That's excellent news because had the Libyan authorities tried to send a rescue team, it would probably have created panic on board with the risk of capsizing."
 
Despite recent efforts by Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s government to step up its fight against illegal immigration, there has been a sharp increase in the numbers of immigrants trying to enter Italy by sea in the last few days, partly due to favorable weather conditions. 

According to Italian customs officials, some 12,500 illegal immigrants, mostly Africans, have landed since the start of the year in Lampedusa, Italy’s most Southern island.

This massive number of arrivals has created a controversy about the role of the Italian navy in the rescuing of immigrant boats sent out in the Mediterranean Sea by traffickers.

"The security forces are becoming taxi drivers for criminal organizations," said Lampedusa’s mayor, Bernardino De Rubeis, on Tuesday.

 

Date created : 2008-08-08

COMMENT(S)