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African migrants feared drowned off Malta

African migrants feared drowned off Malta
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African migrants are continuing to make the perilous journey across the Mediterranean to what they see as the promised land of Europe. Around 200 people on ten vessels were intercepted by the Italian coastguard off the coast of Sardinia. It was the largest landing of illegal immigrants on the island. Under new EU rules, they face 18 months detention and a five-year European ban.

Sardinia has rarely been targeted by illegal immigrants; they usually head for Lampedusa, a small Italian island much nearer the coast of north Africa.

Malta has become a favoured destination as well, but the dangers the migrants face were shown on Wednesday night. It is feared that 71 migrants drowned after their boat sank off the Maltese capital Valetta. Fishermen rescued eight people from a sinking dinghy and handed them over to the coastguard. A naval and airborne search was launched but no other survivors have been found.