Malta rescues 76 migrants fleeing Libya, one dies

June 2nd, 2011 - 12:45 am ICT by BNO News  

VALLETTA, MALTA (BNO NEWS) — A man died on a boat that was rescued by the Armed Forces of Malta on Wednesday off the coast of the Mediterranean island, the Times of Malta reported.

Yesterday, NATO informed Maltese authorities of the presence of the boat, which was carrying 76 migrants from Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Sudan, Bangladesh, and Chad. The migrants included eight women, one of whom is pregnant.

A Maltese military aircraft located the boat this morning about 75 miles off Malta, which appeared to have left from Misurata, Libya, on Saturday.

Last month, a group of 320 migrants was also rescued by the Armed Forces of Malta. Senior military sources said that there were a number of Libyan families who were fleeing their war-torn country. Egyptian and Bangladeshi workers, who have been stranded in Libya, and a number of women, children, and babies were also aboard.

The North African country has been marred with violence since February after protests emerged against the long-standing regime of Muammar Gadaffi. NATO took control of foreign military operations in Libya on March 31 under the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973, which authorizes member states to take ‘all necessary measures’ to protect civilians in the country.

The ongoing civil war between rebels and forces loyal to Gaddafi has so far claimed at least 2,000 lives since unrest began. Other estimates put the death toll from all sides, including civilians, at up to 10,000. An estimated 615,000 people have fled the country so far, with more than 10,000 evacuated from the troubled city of Misrata.

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