Eight men found walking on a road leading from Żurrieq to Għar Lapsi on Friday night are believed to have reached Malta by boat after crossing the Mediterranean.

The men – five Syrians and three Egyptians – were caught by the police following a report filed at around 8.15pm. Officers from the rapid intervention unit, immigration section and district police were all involved.

The men were taken to police headquarters and the case is now being handled by the police’s immigration section.

Police and Armed Forces of Malta personnel then combed the nearby land and sea area but found no one.

A police spokesperson said they had no information about the boat which the men are believed to have used to reach Malta.

Asylum seeker crossings have resumed in recent weeks, with sea rescue hotline service Alarm Phone reporting multiple groups being caught in distress at sea.

The NGO said on Friday that at least two large groups of migrants – a boat carrying 83 people and another with 90 aboard – were drifting out at sea in Malta’s search and rescue zone after having fled Libya.

Alarm Phone said its requests for AFM help were ignored. An AFM spokesperson declined to comment about the cases.

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