250 more refugees arrive as UNHCR says 2,000 have fled Tripoli to Malta, Italy

UPDATE 2 | Another group of 250 sub-Saharan migrants fleeing Libya have been towed to Cirkewwa by an Armed Forces Patrol Boat.

The migrants were intercepted by the AFM as they were stranded about half a mile from Gozo, and were later towed into Cirkewwa, where AFM and Police units are ready to process the migrants.

Today's arrival brings the total to 800 landings in Malta in less than 24 hours.

The UN refugee agency has warned that it has heard that a number of boats carrying more people fleeing from Libya are in distress on the Mediterranean Sea.

"As of this morning there were unconfirmed reports of a number of boats in distress on the Mediterranean carrying more people fleeing from Libya," said Melissa Fleming, spokeswoman from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

With more people expected to arrive in both Italy and Malta, the UNHCR said it is looking into contingency plans with the respective authorities.

"UNHCR is discussing contingency planning with the Italian and Maltese authorities and Red Cross, as there are indications that more arrivals from Libya can be expected," she added, without giving details on these plans.

More than 2,000 people have fled Libya by boat to Malta and Italy, but none among them appear to be Libyans, said Fleming.

Most who have arrived so far are Eritreans and Somalis, including many women and children, added the UNHCR.

Fleming said it is possible that some of the arrivals include those who originally intended to use Libya as a transit point to get to Europe, and were stuck when the conflict broke out.

But she noted that sub-Saharan Africans are bona fide refugees.

"If they are from Somalia, these people are refugees, many Eritreans are refugees, and many of them are registered with UNHCR as refugees," said Fleming.

"Our understanding is that they have been living in horrendous, terrifying conditions in Tripoli," noted the spokeswoman, pointing out that they had been harassed as they were mistaken as mercenaries fighting for pro-regime forces.

"I think any route out possible, they are taking. These are smuggler boats, they are paying so we may not see a big outflow because many people don't have any money anymore," added Fleming.

Before the revolt against the Gaddafi regime, the UNHCR had registered more than 8,000 refugees from Africa and the Middle East inside Libya who were seeking to head to Europe and had 3,000 more asylum cases pending.

The UNHCR had reports earlier this month that Eritrean refugees were being detained in both eastern and western parts of Libya.

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HUTI MALTIN QUMU GHAX WASALNA FIL FINAL HA NIGU AHNA IMMIGRANTI ILLEGALI U HUMA IS SIDIEN
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Jeff Cassar
morru fuq dan il-link l-ahwa u ibdew araw minn 9:16 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YUGBFe8GGzM biex tiftakru f'prim ministri tal-passat li kienu denji tal-hatra taghhom. In-Nazzjonalisti jistghu isubulna wiehed ta' Borg Olivier :) jien kwotazjonijiet biss ghandi tieghu...
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It seems that Somalis and Eritreans are being greeted by settled Immigrants here. Seeing some footage on TVM makes me wonder if these are refugees or not. Well clothed and no sign of undernourishment these were probable foreign workers and there families in Libya who have no wish to go back to their homeland. Whilst understanding there wish to have a better life in Europe, Malta is a tiny island in the Med which cannot fulfill their aspirations. We are one of the most overcrowded places in the whole world and we should take our own initiative if burden sharing falls on deaf ears. If 800 landings have taken place in 24 hours how many more to come in the coming days? We never colonised their country in th past, like Italy did, and therefore there should be no reason for them to colonise our little island.
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Jeff Cassar
Darba kellna prim ministru bil-bajd. Tistghu timagginaw din il-farsa tigri meta kellna lil Mintoff? Kellu mentalita kompletament differenti minn kull prim ministru iehor li kellna (hlief forsi Borg Olivier Alla jahfrilu). Dak iz-zmien Malta kienet stmata daqs kull pajjiz iehor, mhux bicca insignifikanti ta' dak li kien xi darba l-Imperu Ingliz.
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X`garanzija ghandna li dawn mhux qed igorru mard fuqhom. Ghandu jkun hemm post apposta fejn dawn in-nies jigu ezaminati u mhux naqbdu u nibghatuhom il Mater Dei, u nqabzuhom il-kju ukoll. Par Idejn Sodi ghandu jafza lil EU minn issa li Malta taghna ma tiflahx izzomm aktar KLANDESTINI, jew jieduhom huma jew intuhom id-dghajjes li gabu maghhom u ndabrulhom rashom il-fuq.
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Thanks God we have Simon Busutill and his articles 5,6,7,8,9, 10, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, of the EU Solidarity pact to protect us! Yawn!
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Neutrality has nothing to do with this issue. If they do not have any means of identification they cannot be classified as refugees. If more come our way then the only solution is to meet them far out at sea, give them food, water and fuel and escort them back into international waters. Otherwise there will be problems later on if their number swells up disproportionate levels.
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Good willing everyone is either a Somali or Eritrean. But they do not have any means of identifications because they throw them away How does this Melissa Fleming know they are genuine? Why doesn't' she persuade her country to take some of these migrants to her home. Surely we cannot accommodate any large numbers. What will we do then?
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It must be noted that these boat people are from ex Italian Colonies Eritrea and Somalia. Their destination evidently is Italy. They know that Lampedusa is Italy and even Pantelleria. Giletti made us deny what was circulating among immigrants, so now immigrants are sure that that was a lie so they sailed towards Malta. We swallowed the bait
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Se nispiccaw aghar, hafna aghar minn Lampedusa. Illum Berlusconi bghat 7 vapuri u battala Lampedusa mil Immigranti illegali u ha jipustjahom go L-Italja. Il gzira taghna ma tiflahx iktar. Ha nitkissru, hemm bzonn li nibghatuwhom lura malajr kemm jista jkun. Ma missniex hadna posizzjoni kontra gaddafi anka fuq AL JAZEERA il prim ikkumenta li wasal fi tmiemu. Missna qghadna newtrali issa ha jkollna nospitaw eluf kbar!
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And how many illegal immigrants did the Jesuit's Vatican take from Africa? The answer is blowing in the wind!!!!!
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Whilst the EU and Nato are on the forefront to protect the civilians in Libya who is going to protect Malta from the illegal migrants problem?
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the no fly zone was to protect the civilians in Libya. So now many are geting the opportunity to come to europe without passports , as they normally cannot enter for sure cause of the schengen. They probbaly have no money , no doc . no insurance nothing. so all the burden will be upon the maltese tax payers, we are speaking of hundreds .. Malta is a small island with too much population allready, too its size. So with the illigal immigrants we are going to be like chickens , all alltogether
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duncan abela
A very serious refugee problem is in the making for our small overpopulated island. . We must urgently get to the root of this sudden increase in refugees and see whether it is the rebels or loyalists in Libya who are all of a sudden providing boats and pushing these humble foreign African workers to our shores. I thought perhaps naively that the UN security resolution as formulated was primarily intended to protect, offer safety and humanitarian support to ALL residents of Libya irrespective of whether they are citizens or not. It seems that both the rebels and the loyalists do not care much about protecting such humble innocent workers from third world countries with one side using them as human shields or cannon fodder and the other seeing them as mercenaries helping the regime. If the intended aim of the allies mission is truly to protect human rights and not be seen as an exercise in warmongering it is essential that safety zones and suitably equipped camps be provided for such displaced African workers within Libya. It is their sweat and blood which built Libya and therefore they should not be abandoned to their own devices or being an unsupportable burden on the smallest country in the EU.. I would also suggest that these displaced persons be paid an allowance from the frozen Libyan assets. Contacts should also be made with the African Union to encourage it to speak in the defence of these African workers in Libya. The humanitarian aid and support for persons caught up in Libya should not have stopped with the evacuation of a small percentage of priveledged workers from western countries. Western cynicism seems to know no limits. At the moment I will only appeal that rather euphemisms and duck shooting from the air the allies should concentrate on true humanitarian support
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Time to wake up! Stop the invasion or else, we will be illegal immigrants. Where are the leaders of this country? Stop them from getting to our shores!!
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Il Gvern ta Malta ma messux kien l-ewwel wiehed li ikkometta ruhu kontra Gaddafi fil pubbliku anki fuq A LJAZEERA. Issa ara xqed jibghatilna Gaddafi.Missna bqajna Newtrali!Qeghdin JINVADUWNA ISSA!