The International Organization for Migration believes at least 500 migrants drowned in a deliberate ship sinking off the coast of Malta. The ship went down in the Mediterranean Sea on course from Damietta, Egypt to Europe.
The IMO believes the boat was sunk on purpose after migrants rebelled against the frustrating journey, in which traffickers forced the families and children to switch boats a number of times. A spokesperson for IMO told Breaking News Online, "Realizing the danger of the situation, many rebelled and a clash occurred with the traffickers who, at one point, became nervous and rammed the migrant boat from the stern, making it sink. Most of the 500 people fell into the sea and drowned while others managed to stay afloat by clinging to objects.”
The group is calling the incident, which they learned about through interviews with survivors, a "mass murder." The boat was believed to have contained people from Syria, Palestine, Eygpt and Sudan, all escaping conflicts at home.
Ayub Qassem, a spokesman for the Libyan navy, said they did not have the resources to respond to the sinking. "There are so many dead bodies floating in the sea," he told Reuters.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.