Asylum seekers 'Genocide' charged as boat capsizes in Mediterranean, 900 dead

Up to 900 are feared drowned in the latest capsize tragedy, taking the number of dead among those seeking refuge to 1500.

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Over 900 feared dead in the Mediterranean play

Over 900 feared dead in the Mediterranean

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There were warnings of a 'genocide' in the Mediterranean today after nearly 1,000 migrants were feared dead in three separate boat disasters in just 24 hours.

In one of the worst maritime tragedies since the Second World War, more than 900 mainly African migrants are thought to have died when a fishing boat capsized off Libya yesterday.

Survivors claimed up to 300 people including women and children 'drowned like rats in cages' after being locked in the hold by callous traffickers. Pictured left are some of the body bags being collected after the tragedy.

More than 900 mainly African migrants are believed to have perished when a fishing boat capsized off Libya yesterday in one of the worst maritime tragedies since the Second World War. 

Today, at least three migrants were killed when a vessel sailing from Turkey ran aground on the Greek holiday island of Rhodes. A further 100 migrants were rescued from a third vessel late last night.

In the wake of the disasters, Malta's Prime Minister Joseph Muscat called for the European Union to resume rescue operations and address the chaos in Libya which allows smugglers - who charge migrants thousands of pounds for the passage to Europe -  to operate with impunity.

The north African country was riven by a bitter civil war where two rival governments are fighting for control. This has been compounded by the growth of Islamic State within Libya, which earlier this year threatened to send a wave of 500,000 migrants towards Europe's shores. 

Mr. Muscat said: 'We have what is fast becoming a failed state on our doorsteps and criminal gangs are enjoying a heyday.'

With ISIS having established strongholds in the towns on Sirte and Derna, and with smaller bases elsewhere in the country, it is thought the surge in numbers of migrants making the dangerous journey could be linked to the terror group's ever-growing presence. 

Only this weekend ISIS militants filmed themselves savagely beheading and shooting 30 Ethiopian Christians that authorities believe were would-be migrants that had travelled to Libya with dreams of making a new life in Europe.

Speaking of his concerns that the Christians were migrants, Ethiopian government spokesman Redwan Hussein said: 'If this is confirmed, it will be a warning to people who wish to risk and travel to Europe through the dangerous route.'  

Abba Kaletsidk Mulugeta, an official with the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahdo Church's Patriarchate Office, said he also believed the victims were probably migrants.

'I believe this is just another case of the IS group killing Christians in the name of Islam. Our fellow citizens have just been killed on a faith-based violence that is totally unacceptable,' he said.  

'This is outrageous. No religion orders the killing of other people, even people from another religion,' he added.  

Fear of capture and execution at the hands of the radical Islamists is no doubt one element driving the desperate migrants to leave Libya as quickly as they can, dangerously overloading vessels operated by heartless people traffickers.

As well as the spread of ISIS in the country, Libya is currently in a state of civil war - with two rival governments controlling and operating in different areas of the country.

People smugglers are taking advantage of the subsequent chaos and confusion tearing the country apart to ply their trade with little to no threat of being caught.

In 2015, there have already been 30 times more migrants dying off the coast of Libya than in 2014, which was itself a record-breaking year. 

A Italian coast guard ship today brought the bodies of 24 victims from the boat travelling from Egypt to Malta for burial before heading to Sicily with only 28 survivors who were plucked from the sea after the disaster off the coast of Libya.

Source: Daily Mail

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