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UN: 13 Europe-bound migrants killed in shipwreck off Libya

November 10, 2020 GMT

CAIRO (AP) — At least 13 Europe-bound African migrants, including three women and one child, drowned in the Mediterranean Sea when their rubber boat capsized Tuesday off the coast of Libya, the U.N. migration agency said.

It was at least the fourth migrant shipwreck off the coast of the North African country involving fatalities since the beginning of October.

Safa Msehli, spokeswoman for the International Organization for Migration, said the dead were among around two dozen people who left the western town of Zuwara on Monday night.

Libya’s coast guard rescued at least 11 and returned them to shore, she said. The survivors told IOM that water started to leak into the rubber dinghy after being underway for five hours, she added.

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The shipwreck was the latest maritime disaster involving migrants seeking a better life in Europe. Over 30 migrants drowned in at least three separate shipwrecks off Libya and Italy in October, according to the IOM.

This year, some 500 migrants have died trying to cross the central Mediterranean, according to IOM figures, but the organization warned there were likely more deaths that had gone uncounted.

In the years since the 2011 uprising that ousted and killed longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi, war-torn Libya has emerged as the dominant transit point for migrants hoping to get to Europe from Africa and the Middle East.