1,500 African refugees from Libya land in Italy


Rome - MAP - Seven boats carrying more than 1,500 African refugees from Libya including 135 women and 22 children arrived on the Italian island of Lampedusa on Saturday, coast guard officials said.

"The bad weather in the past few days has created very strong concentrations" of refugees wanting to flee Libya after a lull in arrivals, said Davide Miserendino, a spokesman for the border guard service.

"They are all sub-Saharans arriving from Libya," he added.

Lampedusa has seen tens of thousands of arrivals of migrants and refugees mainly from Tunisia and Libya this year amid unrest in north Africa.

Most of the arrivals from Libya are migrant workers from sub-Saharan Africa.

"Around 1,500 refugees arrived -- all of them from Libya," Interior Minister Roberto Maroni, a member of the anti-immigration Northern League party, said.

"There is no longer an agreement in place that allows us to stop these landings," he said, referring to a controversial deal between Italy and Moamer Kadhafi's regime that led to the imprisonment of thousands of people in Libya.
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