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Refugees accuse Malta's navy of sabotaging their boat

THE Maltese navy has allegedly attacked a refugee boat adrift 25 miles off the island nation's coast.

Activist network Alarm Phone tweeted this evening that around 70 people called them around 6pm (GMT) from a wooden boat in distress.

“We have an emergency here," Alarm Phone wrote quoting their conversation with the migrants on the boat.

"Malta's military came and cut the cable of our motor. Water is in the boat. Malta's military said ‘I leave you to die in the water. Nobody will come to Malta’.”

Minutes later the activists said they the refugees called again.

"'Please help us! We will die. We will die in the water. We will die in Maltese waters'."

"'The Malta's military ship number is P52. Please we will die. Now we are five days in the water and the water is in the boat now. Please help us'."

The boat is believed to be the same one Alarm Phone regained contact with this morning. 

The people on board say they have been at sea for five days. 

A refugee on board told Alarm Phone yesterday evening: “We are in a dangerous situation, we need your help now. A military Maltese ship P51 was coming and telling us to get out of Maltese waters.

“We will never go back to Libya, we rather die.”

Update 19:40 

Alarm Phone says that it cannot reach the people in distress anymore.

“We hope this is a sign that public pressure has worked and Malta was forced to take them [ashore].” 

Update April 10

The Maltese authorities confirmed to Alarm Phone activists this morning that the people on board were disembarked in Malta last night, around 41 hours after the coastguard was first alerted to the refugee’s presence in its waters. 

Alarm Phone said: “We call on Malta to stop non-assistance and attacks on people in distress!

“Do not use Covid19 as excuse to violate fundamental human rights.”

The island nation’s government said in a statement last night that it will not allow any more migrants to be disembarked in Malta due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

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