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Italian authorities search Save the Children rescue boat in Sicily

Europe
24.10.2017
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Rome (dpa) - Italian police on Monday boarded a migrant rescue ship run by NGO Save the Children, searching for evidence of people smuggling in the Mediterranean, local media has reported.

An undercover agent had been working on the Vos Hestia boat over the last few months, according to Italian news agency ANSA, citing unnamed sources.

Police said that the search, conducted in the Sicilian port of Catania, was to obtain images of search and rescue operations, as well as any communications, that would document people smuggling across the Mediterranean Sea.

The search related to crimes that "do not relate to Save the Children," the NGO said in a statement, adding that it has always acted "within the law" during its search and rescue mission in the Mediterranean.

The group will be stopping its operations in the region, as previously planned, due to a drop in migrant numbers and a change in the security situation for NGOs, general manager of Save the Children Italy Valerio Neri added.

State prosecutors in the Sicilian city of Trapani, who ordered the search, were not able to be contacted for comment by dpa.

In the last few months considerably fewer migrants have reached Italy by boat than in May and June. This is likely due to increased efforts by the Libyan coast guard, who are working in conjunction with the Italian navy to stop migrant boats leaving northern Africa.

 

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