Baby Among Dead Off Italian Coast

A 14-month-old baby was among three people led to their deaths by migrant smugglers after a boat sank off the Italian island of Lampedusa.

The three migrants, a 14-month-old girl named Sara from Ivory Coast, a 38-year-old man also from Ivory Coast, and a 38-year-old from Cameroon, all lost their lives after a small vessel capsized off the coast of Lampedusa.

The remaining 33 migrants aboard the small boat were rescued by Tunisian fishermen, who later transferred them, including the three dead, to the Italian authorities, the European Union-funded website InfoMigrants reports.

Prosecutors in the city of Agrigento have since launched an investigation into the smugglers behind the perilous voyage on charges of illegal immigration and leading the migrants to their deaths.

The mayor of Lampedusa, Filippo Mannino, has called on the government of Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni to enact a special law for the island to deal with the constant arrivals.

“We are at war, a silent war that many ignore or pretend to ignore,” Mannino said, requesting a”special law for Lampedusa to concretely help deal with this phenomenon that inevitably impacts the management of the territory and, as a consequence, the municipal administration.”

For months, Lampedusa has seen its reception centre, which is meant to accommodate just 350 people, repeatedly overwhelmed. At one point last year in July, over 1,800 migrants were present at the facility, many of whom had to eat and sleep on the floor in squalid conditions.

Last year, Italy saw over 100,000 illegal migrant arrivals — the largest number since 2017 — and there is little sign the numbers arriving are slowing down in early 2023.

Italy is not the only European Union member-state to see a surge of new migrant arrivals last year, with Greece also seeing an increase.

This week, the Greek government said that around 1,300 people-smugglers had been arrested by authorities at the land border with Turkey in the Evros region.

Greek Civil Protection Minister Takis Theodorikakos said that Greece had stopped as many as 256,000 illegal attempts to enter the country illegally last year.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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