VALLETTA (AFP) — Over a hundred illegal immigrants were brought ashore Sunday in two separate operations off Malta, the island's army said in a statement.
Early Sunday, a Spanish trawler reported 79 illegal immigrants, claiming to be from Sudan and including four women, were adrift in a rubber dinghy taking in water and with engine trouble.
A container vessel travelling to Malta was diverted to the scene, 53 miles from Malta (80 kilometres), and took the immigrants aboard.
The immigrants were then transferred in heavy seas to two army patrol boats and brought ashore.
Another boat arrived in the fishing port of Marsaxlokk where 21 migrants made it ashore.
Ten of their colleagues remained on board and attempted to escape and continue their journey to Italy.
They were caught by a police boat. This group comprised 27 men, two women and two children.
Around 1,700 clandestine migrants landed on Malta in 2007, according to an AFP count.
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