February 20, 2023 (KHARTOUM) – About 12 Sudanese are believed to be dead while dozens are missing when their overloaded boat sank in the Mediterranean off the Libyan coast, a Sudanese aid worker said on Monday.
95 Sudanese migrants and 10 others from African countries used a rubber boat last Tuesday at dawn in the Al-Alous neighbourhood of Khoms seeking to cross the sea to Europe.
Malik Aldigawi, an official of the Voluntary Humanitarian Return programme from Libya that rescue teams recovered 11 bodies and some survivors were transferred to Al-Zawiya Hospital, while dozens of immigrants are still missing.
He added some survivors were arrested and transferred to a centre for illegal migrants in Khoms, about 150 kilometres east of the capital, Tripoli.
Sudanese continue to cross the Mediterranean sea to Europe, even if their number has ostensibly decreased compared to past years. They no longer appear among the top 10 countries of origin by the UNHCR for January and February 2023.
The boat’s engine broke down 250 meters off the coast and water leaked inside the boas before sinking. Then the migrants sought to swim back to the beach, he said.
A survivor died of hypothermia after their transfer to the refugee centre, the Sudanese humanitarian worker disclosed.
He pointed out that seven boats loaded with illegal migrants attempted to cross to Europe from Libya during the winter session.
Normally the traffickers avoid embarking during the winter because the migrants die of hypothermia as the sea water is very cold, he added.
Thousands of Sudanese migrants almost from Darfur are in Libya seeking to reach Europe by rubber boat.
The end of mercenary activities in Libya is expected to reduce the number of illegal migrants as the armed groups were involved in the transport of those who seek to reach Europe from Libya, according to UN reports.