Libyan coasguards reported firing shots in the Maltese SAR
LA VALLETTA (MALTA) (ITALPRESS/MNA) – A Libyan coastguard vessel was reported of firing shots as it intercepted a group of migrants in the Malta search-and-rescue area.
The incident was observed by the Seabird, an aircraft operated by NGO Sea-Watch International, which reported that shots were fired into the sea. “This brutality endangers peoplès lives. Refugees are not a target! Malta, act now to stop the violence,” Sea-Watch insisted.
Anthoner NGO, Alarm Phone, which operates a hotline for those seeking to cross the Mediterranean to reach safety, confirmed that there were around 50 people on board the boat which was being intercepted by the Libyan vessel. Describing the incident as a “crime scene in Malta SAR” and emphasising that an illegal pushback was taking place, it insisted that the group should be brought to safety in Europe without delay.
Malta was accused of coordinating a pushback of another group – of around 90 people – over the weekend. Maltese authorities reportedly shared the boat’s location with the Libyan coastguard to prevent them from reaching Maltese waters.
Sea-Watch declared that Libya could in no way be considered a safe place for asylum seekers, and accused Malta of breaching its international obligations in coordinating the illegal return.