Over the open arms in the Mediterranean – The full moon was the only light when a frightened 9-year-old boy from the Central African Republic climbed into a dinghy held together with duct tape and risked death in the dark waters with Libya Parents and 57 other abducted migrants
After a long night on the Mediterranean, a Spanish lifeboat spotted them in the morning after sunrise.
"People were shouting, I was scared," said the boy, Krisley Dokouada. "But after seeing the lifeboat, I knew there was no danger."
Her savior on Saturday was the Open Arms, the third rescue vessel of humanitarian aid agencies to garner the wrath of Italy's anti-migrant interior minister, Matteo Salvini. He has sworn that Italy's new populist government will no longer allow such lifeboats to land in Italy, which has absorbed hundreds of thousands of sea-rescued migrants in recent years.
Malta has then Salvinis claim that the tiny The Mediterranean was closest to the rescue ship and should bring it to safety. [Dsc] [dsc] At dusk, Spain agreed to the Open Arms Dock in Barcelona on Saturday, where the humanitarian aid group Proactiva Open Arms, which operates the ship, is stationed. (1
Also on Saturday, in an unrelated rescue much further west In the center of the Mediterranean, where the rescue of Open Arms took place, the Spanish authorities reported that 63 migrants were prevented from reaching the southern coast of the country from North Africa ,
While European politicians bickered red, where the migrants were supposed to go, those who were rescued by the open-arms cheered – and jumped, chanted and embraced their saviors.
Krisley's tensions melted as he was allowed to sit in the captain's seat for a few minutes. With sparkling eyes, the only child among the migrants smiled shyly after the rescue team called him "Captain."
For months, his family had been living in Libya, waiting for their chance to cross the Mediterranean. His mother, Judith Dokouada, said she never left the shelter for fear of being kidnapped or sold as a slave, a fate many African immigrants have spoken to human rights defenders.
"There is war at home, they kill people, they beat people, they rape women, they kill boys," said Dokouada, 32. "We have no peace."
She and her husband want Krisley at one raise safe place. She expressed the hope that the family could apply for refugee status and settle in Spain.
Bitcha Honoree, another rescuer, said he knew the risk he was taking when he boarded the boat in the middle of the night. The 39-year-old man from Cameroon said he had twice been sold as a slave, abducted in Libya and was tortured while waiting for his chance to board a smuggler's boat. His brother sold his house to pay the ransom demanded by his kidnappers in largely lawless Libya.
"It's better to die than to be treated so badly," he said.
Many have died at the dangerous intersection. According to estimates by the U.N. refugee agency, 1,137 migrants died in the Mediterranean this year. And that does not include the 100 migrants who were reported missing on Friday off the coast of Libya.
A few hours after the Open Arms rescue operation, Salvini stated that the Spanish lifeboat "can forget the arrival of an Italian port" claiming it should go to Malta.
"Quit spreading false news, drawing Malta into it for no reason," Maltese Interior Minister Michael Farrugia tweeted, claiming that the small Italian island of Lampedusa, south of Sicily, was nearer.
Even though the number of migrants arriving in Europe will decline sharply from 2017, migration issues have aggravated the political divisions in the European Union, partly due to the demands of anti-immigrant migrants.
But cracks showed up Saturday between the two coalition parties in Italy's new populist government over Salvini's hardliner approach. Roberto Fico, a leading figure in the 5-star movement, the senior partner of the Italian government coalition, told reporters after inspecting a migrant recovery center in Sicily that "I would not close the ports".
Fico described Libya as unsafe and praised the ships of humanitarian aid for "extraordinary work" in the Mediterranean.
Salvini claimed on Twitter on Saturday that the Open Arms had taken over the migrants before a Libyan boat could intervene in Libya's search and rescue zone.  But the Open Arms captain said he told the Maritime Rescue Coordination Center in Rome about the migrants and told them to call the Libyan maritime authorities who did not answer. The captain said that officials in Rome told him that it was up to him to decide if he wanted to rescue him.
"I've made the decision to save these people," said Captain Marco Martinez to Associated Press Journalist
The AP journalist saw a Libyan coastal guard ship approaching the open arms and the astral as the salvation was completed, but it made a U-turn and left, both boats ordering to return to Spain. Witnesses of the rescue were also four members of the European Parliament.
D & # 39; Emilio reported from Rome. Stephen Calleja in Malta and Aritz Parra in Madrid contributed to it.
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