A new drama for the Malian people. More than 20 Malian migrants have lost their lives off the coast of Libya.
“Twenty-two Malian migrants, including three children, drowned off the Libyan coast”, announced on Tuesday July 5, 2022, the Ministry of Malians Living Abroad and African Integration.
According to the Malian Press and Publicity Agency, the ministry said the victims were part of a group of 83 migrants who had been in distress off the Libyan coast since June 22. Among them, 61 were rescued, including some Malian nationals, with the help of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), a United Nations agency.
“Arrangements are being made for the identification of our surviving compatriots and everything will be done to protect their rights and proceed with their repatriation”, assured the ministry in charge of Malians living abroad.
Minister Alhamdou Ag Ilyene, on behalf of the Malian government, offered his condolences to the bereaved families and the people following this tragedy. He thanked the International Organization for Migration (IOM) for its efforts which “made it possible to identify and assist the survivors”. The Minister also appealed to all Malians to fight against irregular migration.
Libya, a key passage to reach Europe
It should be noted that Libya became a key route for illegal migration to Europe during the chaotic years following the overthrow of dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 in a NATO-backed uprising. While many migrants drowned at sea, thousands more were intercepted by the Libyan Coast Guard, aided by Italy and the EU, and returned to Libya.
There were “significant increases” in migrant flows via Niger and Mali to North Africa in the first quarter of 2022 compared to previous years, an IOM spokesperson said.