Further evidence of Malta’s strategy to push migrants back to the conflict zone of Libya has been revealed by a woman who survived a Mediterranean crossing in which 12 people died.
A series of voice messages obtained by the Guardian have provided confirmation of the Maltese government’s strategy to use private vessels, acting at the behest of its armed forces, in order to intercept migrant crossings and return refugees to Libyan detention centres.
The woman said the boat on which she was attempting to reach Europe had been intercepted by a ship enlisted by the Maltese authorities, which took those aboard back to Tripoli.
Last month, investigative journalists working for several international media sources exposed the existence of a secret pact between La Valletta and the owners of at least three trawlers.
The woman’s account matches that of other survivors who have spoken to Alarm Phone, a hotline service for migrants in distress at sea, which first raised the case.