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Many Feared Drowned in Boat Accident Off Libya

Sirte, Libya

Coast guard officials in Libya say a boat carrying at least 200 migrants has capsized in the Mediterranean Sea, close to Libya's coast.

Most of the African nationals aboard the small wooden vessel are feared to have drowned when the boat went down late Friday, east of Tripoli. Fewer than 20 were rescued, the coast guard said Saturday.

Libya has become a major departure point for Africans trying to reach Europe to find work and escape from difficult conditions in their home countries. Accidents at sea, usually involving overloaded and unstable vessels, kill hundreds of emigrants from North Africa every year.

Human traffickers have exploited Libya's political chaos and porous borders since 2011, when dictator Moammar Gadhafi was overthrown and killed.