Migrant Tragedy: 17 Kids Among 42 Drowned

Migrant-BoatAt least 42 refugees and migrants including 17 children were drowned off the coast of Greece early Friday in two separate tragedies that officials blamed on human traffickers using unsafe boats.
More than three dozen others survived after crossing the Aegean Sea from Turkey in crowded boats, coast guard officials told NBC News.
The deaths came as official figures showed 36,781 migrants arrived in Europe by land and sea so far this year. “Tragically, 181 [of those] are known to have drowned or are missing,” the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said.
A record tide of people seeking better lives mostly from the Middle East, North Africa and Afghanistan crossed into Europe during 2015, plunging the continent into a humanitarian crisis.
“Since January 2015, 1,084,625 migrants, including asylum seekers are reported to have arrived to Europe by land and sea routes, of which 1,048,268 have arrived by sea,” the IOM said.
A wooden boat with 49 people on board was spotted off the eastern Aegean island of Farmakonisi early Friday, coast guard officials said. Forty managed to make it to the shore, but the bodies of six children and two women were recovered.
Separately, military personnel spotted another wooden boat off the island of Kalolimnos. An air and sea rescue operation was launched, with coast guard vessels assisted by a Greek air force Super Puma helicopter and private boats. The bodies of 16 women, 7 men and 11 children were recovered and 26 others were rescued.
The search for other possible survivors was ongoing, the coast guard said. It blamed the deaths on smugglers who overload unsafe boats on Turkey’s coast.
In the meantime, gunmen suspected to be Fulani herdsmen yesterday invaded four towns in Girei Local Government Area of Adamawa State, killing the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in charge of Vunokilang Police Station and 62 others.
However, there was a conflicting report last night that the gunmen were suspected Boko Haram insurgents.
The Nation learnt that more than 200 suspected Fulani herdsmen attacked four towns, namely Demsare, Wunamokoh, Dikajam and Taboungo and parts of Fawore at dawn, killing people.
The DPO, the late CSP Okozie Okereofor, who had just spent two months in the command, was transferred from Okigwe in Imo State.
An eyewitness said he was ambushed with his team, who moved into the communities to quell crises.
A community leader, P.P. Elisha, said Okozie led his men to the areas and suspected Fulani herdsmen surrounded his vehicle and killed him.
The bodies of the police officer and others have been deposited at the Federal Medical Centre, Yola.
Confirming the killings, police spokesman Othman Abubakar said the DPO and his men were attacked on official duty by suspected Fulani herdsmen.
He added that reports indicated that the attackers looted the villagers’ foodstuff and livestock before setting their homes ablaze.

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