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Almost 400 stranded in Mediterranean despite Louise Michel rescue | News



Nearly 400 refugees and migrants remained stranded in the central Mediterranean after an overcrowded rescue vessel was emptied of all the rescued people on Saturday.

The German-flagged Louise Michel, sponsored by British street artist Banksy, made a mayday call late on Friday after rescuing more than 200 people, saying the 31-metre (101-foot) ship had become overcrowded and unable to move.

The crew said some of the survivors had fuel burns and had been at sea for days, and one of the boats the Louise Michel helped had at least one dead person on board. The survivors later said three people had died at sea before the arrival of the Louise Michel.

Over the course of Saturday, 49 survivors were picked up from the Louise Michel by the Italian coastguard and taken to the island of Lampedusa.

“Given the danger of the situation, the coastguard sent a patrol boat to Lampedusa which took in 49 people deemed the most fragile, including 32 women, 13 children and four men,” the coastguard said in a statement.

Rescued migrants and refugees transferred from Banksy-funded rescue boat MV Louise Michel

The remaining survivors were transferred on Saturday to another charity vessel, the German-flagged Sea-Watch 4, jointly operated by the NGOs Sea Watch and Doctors Without Borders (MSF).

“LouiseMichel no longer has guests onboard, but the struggle of the survivors is not over,” a Twitter account for the rescue ship said on Sunday. “Europe! SOLAS [international treaty on safety of life at sea] obliges you to rescue at sea. Open your ports now!”

The Sea-Watch 4, which has a clinic on board and is itself in search of a host port, sailed for almost 12 hours to help the Louise Michel.

The Sea-Watch 4 now has 353 rescued people, while another 27 are still on the Maersk Etienne, a Danish tanker that rescued them on August 4 after a call for assistance from the small boat they were on.

“We’re providing an emergency response where the states are failing and now we’re stranded at sea. We are being penalised for filing the gap that the EU governments have left at the world’s deadliest maritime border,” Hannah Wallace Bowman, MSF’s field communications manager on board the Sea-Watch 4, told Al Jazeera.

“The crew and survivors on board the Sea-Watch 4 are totally exhausted. Some of the people who we rescued have been on board since last Saturday, more than seven days ago.”

‘Immediate disembarkation’

The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) jointly called for the “immediate disembarkation” of all survivors still at sea.

EU countries’ inability to agree who should take them in “is not an excuse to deny vulnerable people a port of safety and the assistance they need, as required under international law,” they said.

The Mediterranean route is described by the UNHCR as the most dangerous migration route in the world – one in six people who departs the shores of North Africa dies.

Since 2014, more than 20,000 refugees and migrants have died at sea while trying to reach Europe from Africa, fleeing conflict, repression and poverty in Africa and the Middle East.

The reality is far worse than what the figure suggests, officials and analysts have warned, as the bodies of those who do not survive are not always recovered, identified and counted.

Standoffs over refugees and migrants rescued in the central Mediterranean have been playing out for years, with the southern European counties of Italy and Malta usually reluctant to welcome them.

The two countries have long said they are disproportionately affected by Europe-bound sea migration from North Africa, and that there is insufficient burden-sharing across the European Union.

Al Jazeera and news agencies

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Muntu Blocked in Kamwenge



Alliance for National Transformation presidential candidate Gen. Mugisha Muntu has been blocked from campaigning in Kamwenge according to a statement he released earlier today.Below is the full statement:

Today in Kamwenge, as we have done since the start of the campaign season, we headed out to speak with the people. We had earlier in the week agreed on the venue with security agencies. No one had anticipated that it would rain as much as it did, making it impossible for us or the people to access.

After identifying an alternative place only 100m away from the original venue, negotiating with the owner and communicating the same to the public, we headed to the second venue only to be stopped by police.

Our policy has always been to do all we can to be reasonable, even in the face of unreasonable action on the part of the state. We engaged the police leadership in a civilized, respectable manner well knowing that they intended to not only frustrate us, but cause us to act in ways that would give them an excuse to cause chaos. This was on top of their intimidating the radio we had booked and duly paid to appear on.

While we are confident that we are on the right side of both the law and reason, we have chosen not to endanger the lives of our supporters or the general public by escalating the situation. We will do everything humanly possible to avoid a single life being lost or blood being shed on account of our campaign.

And yet this truth remains: the regime’s days are numbered.



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Is Johnson Byabashaija courting Enid Kukunda for protection?



The very amiable Commissioner General of Prisons Canon Johnson Byabashaija was recently sighted with President Y K Tibuhaburwa Museveni’s second wife Enid Kukunda as the two had a very secretive meeting in one of the city hangouts.

According to our informers, the two seem to be in a deep conversation that they wouldn’t allow a housefly pass around. However, sources further reveal that Byabashaija could have courted the second lady for protection given that he has amassed a lot of wealth and could be a subject of investigations.

Our sources reveal that Byabashaija who carries himself as Mr.I know it all hasn’t met Madam Enid alone but a host of others with connections to the centre of power in the country.

We will bring you more detail

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Bobi Wine released on Bail



Presidential candidate and kyadondo East legislator Hon. Robert Kyagulanyi Sentamu has been realeased on bail by the Iganga magistrates court where he appeared to defend himself against accusations of flouting COVID-19 campaign SOPs. A defiant Kyagulanyi took the opportunity to blast the incumbent Yoweri Museveni, whom he accuses of using state power to quell dissident.

This follows a tense week that has seen thousands injured and several dead following Hon. Kyagulanyi’s arrest earlier this week. Demonstrations and riots erupted in many parts of the country and heavy police and army deployment was seen all over the country.

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