5 migrants die at rescue operation off Libyan coast, coastguards and German NGO exchange blame

5 migrants die at rescue operation off Libyan coast, coastguards and German NGO exchange blame

November 06, 2017 - 22:20
Posted in:
Written by: AbdulkaderAssad

Spokesman of Libyan Navy, Ayoub Qassim, says German NGO Sea Watch is a wolf in sheep's clothing

Photo: Sea Watch

The Libyan coastguards have rescued 47 illegal immigrants, while five others drowned as they tried to swim toward the nongovernmental German organization Sea Watch's ship, whose appearance in the rescue area has created a chaos, according to the Media Office of the Libyan Naval Force.

"Once the German NGO Sea Watch arrived in the scene where the Libyan coastguards were rescuing migrants, all migrants rushed to it even those who were saved and placed on board dinghies, most of them jumped in water leading to the death of five of them." The Libyan Naval Force indicated on its media office's Facebook page.

It also added that Sea Watch was defying the Libyan coastguards in the open sea, tossing in water their dinghies and making it look as if the two of them were racing to save lives, thus causing a mess among migrants, while at the same time an Italian naval helicopter was hovering above and throwing dinghies in the water, where a French vessel was watching from some distance away not interfering.

The Libyan Navy said they rescued 47 including 30 women and one child, who all were spotted 30 miles off northern Sidi Bilal area in Janzour, western Tripoli.

"Libyan coastguards were doing well in rescuing the migrants, who were more than 110 onboard a boat off Libyan shores, but Sea Watch unauthorized intervention caused the death of five of them." It explained.

Two were sent to a medical care unit and the rest were provided with humanitarian aids and then transferred to Tajoura migrants' shelter centers, the media office of the Libyan Naval Force added.

In the meantime, Sea Watch published on its website a different narrative of the tragedy, saying "the violent and reckless behavior of Libyan Coast Guards has caused at least five deaths on the Central Mediterranean Sea this morning, as the crew of the Sea-Watch 3 was called to their first rescue mission by the Italian Maritime Rescue Coordination Center."

It said that it had managed to rescue 58 migrants aboard the Sea-Watch 3, while Libyan coastguards "forced a few of the passengers" on their vessel and took them back in direction Libya.

The Spokesman of the Libyan Navy, Ayoub Qassim, said after the incident that they are not surprised at all by the false and fabricated accusations made by the German NGO Sea Watch, saying they know that this NGO is "a wolf in sheep's clothing."

"They accused us falsely in May 2017 and so did this morning." Qassim remarked.

He added that the truth will be revealed in a press conference with evidence and proofs so the world can see the true horrible face of Sea Watch.