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Scores of migrants feared dead as boat sinks off Libya

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Tripoli: About 30 to 40 migrants are feared dead after a dinghy carrying 120-140 migrants deflated off the coast of Libya, the International Organisation for Migration said in a statement.

The migrants departed from the city of Misrata, some 200 km east the capital Tripoli, Xinhua news agency reported on Friday.

Six to seven hours after departure, their boat started to deflate, causing panic among the immigrants on board and eventually drowning some of them. Ninety-one migrants have survived, the statement said.

The immigrants are from Sudan, Somalia, and Nigeria.

Libya has fallen in a state of anarchy and insecurity since the fall and death of its former leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, making the north African country a preferred point of transit for immigrants who want to cross the Mediterranean to Europe.

The International Organisation for Migration estimates that more than 350,000 migrants have reached Europe by sea this year, and 2,600 died while trying to cross the Mediterranean to Europe, many of whom departed from Libya.

–IANS