A citizen militia called “Defend Europe” is about to set sail in the Mediterranean to track down migrants and return them to Libya.
The group announced Tuesday that it has raised the 76,000 euros ($87,000) needed to rent a vessel. The anti-immigration initiative includes people from several countries who aim “to expose the true face of so-called humanitarian organizations, their collaboration with smuggling mafias and the deadly consequences of their actions at sea,” according to organizer Clement Galant.
Defend Europe says it has no intention of hurting the migrants and will keep them safe while they wait for the Libyan coastguard to take them back.
“When boats full of illegal migrants cross, our mission is to call the Libyan coastguard so that they can come and rescue them,” Galant said in a video posted on social media. “We will keep them safe in the meantime.”
More than 101,417 migrants have crossed the Mediterranean sea during 2017, with almost 85 percent arriving in Italy. So far, 2,353 drownings have been reported, according to the Missing Migrants Project.
Italy has threatened to close its ports for foreign ships if other European Union countries don’t help out.
Britain’s House of Lords committee released a report Wednesday saying existing EU efforts have failed to stop the people smuggling industry and does little to stem the influx of refugees.
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