NGO Alarm Phone slammed the Armed Forces of Malta on Saturday evening for refusing to rescue 77 migrants at risk of drowning.

“Your failure to do your job endangers these lives! Rescue now,” the NGO said in a tweet, adding that it was alerted of a boat carrying 77 people in distress. 

“After the group survived the night, we lost contact three hours ago. In our last call, they said that two people had gone overboard and that the boat has problems with the engine.”

Calls to AFM were not answered, the NGO said.

On Friday, Alarm Phone had also said it made repeated attempts to contact the AFM to step in and rescue 173 people in two dinghies which were in Maltese territorial waters. 

It was first reported that the first group of 83 people escaped from the Libyan city of Zawiya on Thursday, and called for assistance as their engine stopped working. The NGO also made contact with another group of 90 people who had also left Libya and had been at sea for over three days.

On Sunday, Alarm Phone reported that the group of 83 had arrived safely in Lampedusa.

“The families received calls from the travellers after arrival. We hope they will find some rest after the dangerous crossing.”

A spokesperson said that the NGO lost contact with the other 90 migrants.

Earlier on Sunday, the police said that a group of 55 migrants had entered Wied il-Buni in Birżebbuġa.

On Friday, another eight men, believed to have reached Malta by boat, were apprehended by the police after they were found walking on a road leading from Żurrieq to Għar Lapsi. 

Attempts by this newsroom to contact the AFM were unsuccessful.

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