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5,800 migrants rescued in Mediterranean

Another 5,800 migrants desperate to reach Europe were rescued this weekend as they tried to cross the Mediterranean on rickety boats, more than 2,150 of them on Sunday, the Italian coastguard said.
The number rescued this weekend was one of the highest recorded in recent years, raising fears that the tide of people risking their lives to reach Europe from Africa and the Middle East has not been slowed by recent disasters.
On April 12 and 13 alone, more than 6,000 people were rescued.
Not all those trying to reach Europe made it, as the bodies of eight migrants were found on board two of the vessels on Sunday, the coastguard said.
It was unclear how they died, but migrants face many dangers and extreme conditions on board overcrowded, flimsy vessels that set sail from Libya to Italy.
Two other people drowned after they jumped into the sea to rush towards the rescue teams, the coastguard said.
Sunday’s rescues came as the Libyan coastguard intercepted five boats carrying 500 people and ordered them to return.
Another 50 migrants reached the Italian island of Lampedusa, the closest to north Africa’s shores, on Sunday.
The Italian navy said its patrol ship Bettica picked up more than 570 migrants from four vessels on Sunday, among them some 60 women and around 15 children.
The MV Phoenix, a ship operated by the NGO Migrant Offshore Aid Station and Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders), also rescued 369 on Sunday, a day after setting sail from Malta for a six-month aid mission, MSF said.
Meanwhile the Libyan coastguard intercepted five boats with some 500 people on board, some eight nautical miles off the coast, and ordered them to head back for the city of Misrata east of the capital Tripoli.

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