The Armed Forces of Malta rescued a group of 118 migrants, including 10 women, five children and a baby, after their boat was sinking and the migrants were drowning, Home Affairs Minister Byron Camilleri said on Thursday.
Camilleri said the migrants were in Malta’s search and rescue area when they were seen to be in distress, with many of them at risk of drowning, forcing the Maltese navy officers to intervene to save lives.
In a recorded message posted on Facebook, Camilleri said the army personnel were “constrained” to effect the rescue as people were at serious risk of drowning.
Camilleri said the soldiers had to choose between life and death for these migrants and that they will continue to choose to save people out at sea.
“The Armed Forces of Malta were constrained to bring in the migrants who were drowning in the Maltese search and rescue area, ten women, one of them with a newborn baby and five children. The soldiers had no choice but to either let these people drown, or save them,” Camilleri said as he assured his listeners that the migrants will be kept isolated and in quarantine until they are tested for the COVID-19.
Camilleri said that in the first seven months of the year, the Libyan authorities had intercepted 7,000 migrants trying to leave the country. Malta was committed to continuing working closely with the Libyan authorities to avoid more arrivals and more deaths in the Mediterranean. Enditem