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Gambians rescued, 100 feared dead in migrant shipwreck off Libya

The body of a baby who died in a shipwreck off the coast of Libya is carried ashore in al-Hmidiya, east of the capital Tripoli on June 29, 2018. Source: AFP

An unspecified number of Gambians are reported to have survived a shipwreck off the coast of Libya that left many dead and 100 more missing.

According to AFP, the 16 rescued passengers were all young men from countries including Gambia, Zambia and Sudan.

AFP said the lifeless bodies of three babies were brought ashore on Friday and survivors say 100 people are still missing.

Around 120 migrants were aboard the inflatable craft when it ran into trouble, according to survivors taken to Al-Hmidiya, east of the capital Tripoli.

Sixteen people were rescued, while the missing included two babies and three children under the age of 12.

Survivors told AFP the boat sank a few hours after its pre-dawn departure from Garaboulli, east of Tripoli, following an explosion on board.

The motor then caught fire and the vessel began taking on water, they said.

The passengers included several Moroccan families, none of whom survived.

“When I saw the number of people on the boat, I refused to get on board, because we had been told that we would be 20 (passengers),” said survivor Amri Swileh, from Yemen.

Showing his bruised arms, the 26-year-old said he was threatened by smugglers and forced onto the boat.

“I lost all of my Yemeni friends who were with me. All five of them are missing,” he said.

There were up to 15 women on board.

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