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Africans fleeing Libya drown

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Africans fleeing Libya drown

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It is feared that 200 to 270 refugees escaping from the violence in Libya have drowned after their overloaded fishing boat got into trouble in heavy seas. Around 570 people were rescued from the stricken vessel, although three of these later died in hospital.

The boat hit problems just off the coast of Tunisia, near the port of Sfax. The victims are thought to be mainly from Somalia, Nigeria, Bangladesh, the Ivory Coast, Chad and Sudan.

Europe has seen a flood of refugees in recent months, many of them heading to the Italian island of Lampedusa where authorities are struggling to cope with the influx.

The UN estimates that at least 1,200 people have drowned attempting to escape from Libya since last February.