SOS Mediterranee rescues 158 migrants off Libya

'Only NGO in the area and could have stayed longer'

(ANSA) - Catania, June 1 - The Aquarius ship of the NGO SOS Mediterranee rescued 158 people on an overcrowded dinghy some 158 miles north of the Libyan town of al-Khoms on Friday.
    Among the 158 passengers were 26 women and 5 children. The migrants were from West Africa, Bangladesh, Sudan and Morocco.
    Most of them, the NGO said, told volunteers onboard the ship that they had suffered violence, abuse, arbitrary detention and extortion in Libya.
    The Acquarius will land in Pozzallo on Saturday after authorization from the Italian authorities. SOS Mediterranee's rescue coordinator for the Acquarius, Loic Glavany, noted that "the ship can carry over 500 passengers for 2-4 days and is at the moment the only NGO rescue ship in the area. We left deeply worried since if other boats were to find themselves in danger they will most likely not be discovered and rescued in time. And this will likely result in tragedies that we cannot even know about."

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