A new refugee tragedy scares Italy. With a horror trip in the Mediterranean should be women and children died of thirst, a hundred dead bodies were thrown overboard. Now there are serious allegations against NATO: it should help have failed. Rome calls for an investigation.
Lampedusa - The boat started on the coast of war-torn Libya. The flight across the Mediterranean was the horror ride: More than 300 refugees had to be rescued on Thursday in front of the damaged ship, they were brought to the Italian island of Lampedusa. Now more and more details of this new tragedy in the Mediterranean are known - and this could have diplomatic consequences.
The survivors tell of the horrible deaths of women and children who had died at sea of hunger, thirst and exhaustion. The men on board would have "the corpses, one hundred in number," must throw overboard during the journey, one of the rescued Italian officials said on Lampedusa.
"As bags thrown into the sea, died of hunger and thirst, and devoured by the sun," says the Turin newspaper "La Stampa" the plight of African refugees on the ship. Many of the survivors appeared to need medical help.
The drama has now also have political consequences. Italian media reported on Friday, Italian authorities had requested a NATO ship unsuccessfully to help the boat. The Italian Coast Guard discovered the dilapidated ship in Libyan waters, with four ships, the survivors were taken to safety. About the hopeless situation of the tug boat had a Cypriot given first an SOS signal.
According to Italian news agency Ansa the Italian authorities a request to NATO to the rescue operation was rejected. Accordingly, the NATO ship was only 50 kilometers from the refugee boat
The Roman State Department now demanded by NATO, an explanation of the incident and wants to initiate an investigation. A NATO spokesman dismissed the allegations from Rome and declared that the military alliance stride in emergency situations in accordance with international law one always. The Italian government also asked for an extension of the mandate of the Libyan military alliance. The mandate should extend to the rescue of civilians who were fleeing across the sea from the fighting in their homeland, said in a statement released on Friday, Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Rome.
According to the UN refugee UNHCR work since the beginning of the conflict in Libya in mid-March at least 1,500 refugees have lost their lives in the Mediterranean. In the past few months were a total of some 24,000 refugees from Europe arrived on the coasts of Libya, said a UNHCR spokeswoman for the newspaper "Corriere della Sera". Because now instead of small boats large ships would, on which pushed up to 800 people, including the number of fatalities has increased.
Only last Monday, the Italians had arrived under the deck of a boat in Lampedusa from Libya found 25 corpses of young men who were there choked. Against six smugglers will be determined on the merits.