5 June 2008

Somalia: Immigrant Boat Missing in Libyan Waters

Reports from Libya say that up to 60 Somali people are missing following they traveled with rickety boat from coast of Libya to Italia sources said.

The boast has left from Libya on the fifth of May where waves of winds were thrashing the tides of the full shark sea.

Its yet unknown where the missed boat about.

One of the immigrant's traffickers who declined to disclose his name told Shabelle by phone from Libyan capital Tripoli that 100% the missing immigrants are drowned.

Some of reasons behind the drowning of these people were reported is that they traveled to the sea was getting higher tides.

"They left as the blustery weather was beating the sea" the trafficker said.

The missing and deadly sea voyages of the Somalis comes as More than one hundred Somali immigrants traveling with rickety timber boats from Libya have started en route for Italy as more than 70 Somalis died after came to blows in the sea according to the survivors.

Speaking to Shabelle radio by phone as he was onboard a boat on their way to italy one of the immigrants that is to say Yusuf Osman has declared that a boat aboard by more than 120 passengers has capsized after two Somali immigrants men have battled/punched in the boat that caused the boat to weigh down on one side and rolled over when most of the voyagers entirely stood up.

"I am now onboard boat with anticipation that I will safely touch down in Italy" Yusuf said in the interview as the phone speaker could be heard the sound of the sea's wave and tides.

He also declared that there are hundreds of Somalis have additional plights in Libyan prisons those are committed to different abuses by Libyan prison guards.

Else where Somali woman gave birth aboard a vessel carrying 38 illegal immigrants from North Africa to Italy on Thursday.

The immigrants included seven women and were rescued by a coast guard vessel, 13 nautical miles south of Lampedusa off the coast of Sicily.

The immigrants arrived after the Italian cabinet a number of new hardline measures to police asylum seekers and other immigrants.

Also in the last weeks 92 immigrants, mostly Somalis, were rescued by the Italian coast guard from two different vessels after they called for help on a satellite phone.

Thousands of illegal immigrants make the dangerous sea voyage from North Africa to Italy and other southern Mediterranean countries each year, in search of a better life.

It's too early to say whether immigrants will be deterred by the tough new Italian 'security package' designed to combat crime and illegal immigration.

Among the provisions approved by the cabinet is a measure in which an illegal immigrants would be considered criminals and therefore face prison terms of up to four years.

The provision would also make it easier to expel illegal immigrants, and crack down on abuse of the asylum system.

Italian authorities will also be able to detain immigrants in temporary centres for up to 18 months and conduct DNA tests on immigrants who want to join their relatives to make sure only close family members enter Italy.

In April, more than 1,000 North Africans and some Somalis reached the island of Lampedusa, south-west of Sicily.

Lampedusa is a tiny island that is closer to Africa than the European continent and a favourite drop off point for immigrant smugglers.

One of the worst tragedy of Somalis has happened after May Allah bless them more than 13 somalis including women died after their boat capsized in the last week at Italian coast.

Teary tributes were paid in Rome to 13 Somali immigrants who died at sea in a desperate attempt to reach Europe's shores.

Hundreds of mourners filed past their coffins, laid out in front of Rome's city hall, paying last respects to the unnamed men and woman who sought better life but fell victims to cold and hunger instead at sea.

Survivors of the nightmarish 16-day voyage, rescued last Sunday by Italian coastguards, said about 50 more corpses had been dumped at sea.

"I am crying for my brothers," said on Somali mourner.

About 150 Somali immigrants and several hundred other mourners stood in somber silence as 13 hearses arrived one by one and city officials placed the coffins on a raised platform.

Shock

The tragedy has traumatized many Italians and Rome responded with a formal ceremony to honour the dead at a vast square that was once the heart of the Roman empire.

"I came to express compassion with these people who fled their homeland in search of a better life only to find suffering and death," an elderly Roman woman said, crying and making the sign of the cross.

Many Somali woman covered their faces in their headscarves, while others held high their national flag.

Deaths

At least 12 other African immigrants have died in two other shipwrecks off Italy in march, prompting shrill calls for granting safe passage to immigrants.

Italy's government has enacted tough legislations to discourage immigrants from sneaking in.

But unmindful of the lurking dangers, rickety old boats are still leaving Tunisia and Libya on a regular basis, packed with immigrants and heading straight for Italy's shores.

Many of those on board, like the 13 Somalis, never make it.

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