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Malta refused migrants from Libya

After the onset of the coronavirus, Malta announced that it was too overwhelmed to rescue migrants making the precarious crossing of the Mediterranean Sea, where the tiny island nation has been on the front line of the maritime migration route over the past decade.

In secret, however, the Maltese authorities have worked hard to make sure no migrants actually reach the island.

It dispatched a small fleet of private merchant vessels in April to intercept migrants at sea and return them by force to a war zone in Libya, according to information provided by the captain of one of the boats, a senior commander in the Libyan Coast Guard, and a former Maltese official involved in the area.