More than 120 migrants feared drowned in Mediterranean after smugglers steal outboard motor

Up to 126 refugees and migrants are feared to have drowned in the Mediterranean after Libyan smugglers stole the outboard engine of their dinghy. The dinghy, which left from a beach on the Libyan coast, was heading north towards Italy when a boatload of traffickers turned up and removed the motor. Without an engine, waves soon engulfed the dinghy and it sank. It was believed to have been carrying 130 migrants, most of them reportedly Sudanese, when it went down on Friday. Only four survived – two Nigerians and two Sudanese. They were eventually picked up by Libyan fishermen, who dropped them off with another dinghy full of migrants, which was eventually rescued at sea by the Italian coast guard.
“Leaving a dinghy out at sea without an engine is tantamount to murder,” Flavio Di Giacomo, spokesman for the IoM, told The Telegraph. “We believe the motor was stolen either by smugglers who launched the dinghy in the first place, or by a rival group. “In the last six months we’ve seen an increase in the number of dinghies having their engines stolen. They are valuable to the smugglers.”
Nearly 70,000 migrants and refugees have been rescued in the Mediterranean so far this year and taken to Italy – a 23 per cent increase compared to the same period last year. At least 1,850 have lost their lives on the dangerous crossing.

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