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MILAN – A ship carrying up to 600 migrants trying to flee Libya has sunk just off the coast of the North African country, the U.N. Refugee Agency said Monday, citing witness accounts.
Witnesses who departed on another boat shortly after reported seeing the ship broken apart and bodies floating in the sea, Boldrini said. The second boat with witnesses aboard arrived later in Italy, she said.
At least three other boats that departed Libya in late March have disappeared, with hundreds feared dead, Boldrini said.
London's Guardian newspaper reported on Monday that 61 African migrants died of hunger and thirst on that ship after being ignored by a NATO warship and helicopter in March around the time the alliance was readying for military strikes against the Gadhafi regime
Aid officials were still trying to confirm the fate of those people after the vessel broke apart Friday in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Libya, UNHCR spokeswoman Laura Boldrini said.