More than 300 African migrants are feared to have drowned after their boats capsized off the coast of Libya, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) said on Tuesday.
At least 23 bodies of drowned migrants were recovered by Libyan coastguards near the wreckage of three rickety boats which sailed from the coastal village of Sidi Belal near Tripoli.
“More than 251 of the migrants who boarded the three boats were missing,” added Oea, which is close to Saif al Islam, son of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.
A fourth ship crammed with more than 350 migrants broke down near Libya’s offshore Buri oilfied but Libyan coastguards towed the vessel to the port of Tripoli and rescued all the migrants, including women and children, it added.
“There are an estimated 1-1.5 million African irregular migrants in Libya, drawn by the need for unskilled labour according to IOM.