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'Many deaths' as boat with African migrants sinks off Libyan coast

File photo - workers bag bodies of migrants that drowned off Tripoli's coast last month.

File photo - workers bag bodies of migrants that drowned off Tripoli's coast last month.

A boat packed with up to 250 African emigrants trying to reach European shores sank yesterday off the Libyan coast and most are feared dead, a spokesman for the Libyan navy said.

Only 26 people have been rescued so far, navy spokesman Ayub Qassem told Reuters, adding that the boat had sunk near Tajoura, east of the capital Tripoli.

"There are so many dead bodies floating in the sea," he said, adding that the under-equipped coast guard had few resources to search for survivors.

Qassem said the emigrants on the capsized boat were mostly Africans, among them women.

Libya's coast guard mainly exists on paper and relies on fishing boats and tugs it borrows from the oil ministry.

More than 100 African emigrants died in a similar boat accident in August.

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