WASHINGTON, April 21, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Prime Minister Khalifa al-Ghwell of the National Salvation Government, based in Libya, conveyed his heart felt sorrow and condolences to the families of over 400 migrants who are feared drowned after their boat capsized off the Libya coast. "These men, women and children deserved a better life. They deserved what we pray for and are fighting for: a life of liberty, freedom and the pursuit of happiness - not to die in the depths of the Mediterranean Sea of our Coast, running from hostile elements," stated the Prime Minister.
Although the Libyan Coast Guard in conjunction with the Italian Coast Guard rescued 144 people from the boat on Monday, an air and sea search operation continued in hopes of saving others. Hundreds more migrants rescued from boats in the Mediterranean are due to arrive in Sicily over the next few days.
UN officials say well over 500 people have died since the start of the year, 30 times more than in the same period last year. Survivors say that the latest tragedy happened after the boat, carrying about 550 migrants in total, overturned a day after leaving Libya.
More than 8,000 migrants have been picked up in the Mediterranean Sea since Friday and more boats overloaded with migrants are heading for the Italian coast. Since many of the migrants are being smuggled through Libya by human traffickers, the Prime Minister ordered the establishment of the Coalition of Illegal Immigration Force (CIIF), to stop the illegal human trafficking from Northern Africa through Libya to Southern Europe so we can protect these migrants.
He called out to the European Union to assist us in the humanitarian effort to save lives and restrict the illegal immigration into Europe. According to the Prime Minister, "We are in Tripoli; we stand for freedom and justice, and are committed to stopping the Illegal Immigration from Libya into Southern Europe by air, land or sea by our CIIF. We will work closely with the International Community in preventing this tragic loss of life."
"We thank the Organization of Save the Children for all of their humanitarian work. According to them, many of the survivors were "young men, probably minors".
As a Nation committed to the dignity and freedom of all people, along with the Global Community, we will and must do better. There is no reason that these children should have died. We will commit our CIIF to assist in the immediate mitigation of the illegal immigration and call on the global community to assist in preventing further tragedies."
SOURCE Prime Minister Khalifa al-Ghwell