From an AP story about the sinking of the migrant boat that left Tripoli last week, killing hundreds of persons:
“… International agencies say some recent migrants report being forced onto dangerously packed ships at gunpoint by Libyan soldiers. A spokesman for Moammar Gadhafi suggested that increased illegal immigration was the price European nations would pay for their military and political support of the rebels trying to topple Libya’s strongman. ‘Because of the NATO aggression against our country and because our coastal border guard is being hit daily … we are unable to deal with this situation and that is why Europe is being flooded with illegal immigration,’ government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim said. ‘We cannot be the guards of Europe at this moment.’…
The U.N. said migrants’ boats started leaving Libya for Europe again on March 25, the day NATO took over military operations. About 14,800 since have made the gruelling journey across the Mediterranean in rickety ships run by smugglers who rarely provide enough food and water. At least 800 people had been lost at sea in three boat sinkings before the latest ship went down with 600 aboard off Tripoli on Friday, the U.N. said. Five boats carrying 2,400 people have arrived in recent days on the Italian island of Lampedusa, the closest European point to Libya. Every one of those boats needed to be rescued by the Italian coast guard and police, the U.N. said.
‘We know that the people running the boats are smugglers. But obviously you cannot have over 2,000 people leaving in a few short days without the government knowing and allowing it,’ U.N. refugee agency spokeswoman Sybella Wilkes said. ‘That port of Tripoli is under government control.’…”
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