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Italy denies turning back migrants in Mediterranean


Rome, Nov 8 (IANS/AKI) A senior Italian official on Tuesday defended his government's role in training Libya's Coastguard and denied had turned back migrant boats to the chaos-wracked North African country.

"has helped and continues to help the legitimate Libyan recognised by the United Nations," said Mario Marcone, who heads the Italian Interior Ministry's Immigration Department.

"But we have never turned back boats to Libya," he said at the presentation to local councils of an annual report on refugees in

"If large numbers of migrants have been escorted back to Libya, this has been done by the Libyan Coastguard, which is under the control of Libya's (UN-backed) presidential council," said Marcone.

Marcone parried accusations by a German NGO that at least five migrants including a toddler drowned during a rescue operation off Libya on Monday due to the "violent and reckless behaviour" of Libyan coastguard.

"This is what Sea Watch claims. But we also need to listen to what the Libyan Coastguard's highly debatable who are the good guys and who are the bad guys," he said.



(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, November 08 2017. 23:04 IST