(Adds police comment that search underway for migrants who landed)

A group of at least 262 migrants landed between Marsaxlokk and Birzebbuga this morning after arriving packed like sardines on a large fishing boat.

Their arrival was reported by people on the scene at about 6.30 a.m. and a large number of policemen from various sections of the police force, including the SAG, the Mobile Squad and the traffic section, immediately descended on the scene accompanied by soldiers.

The police said some of the migrants had landed and been arrested. A search for others was continuing.

The rest of the migrants migrants disembarked from their boat singly and walked between a 'corridor' of policemen to waiting buses and army trucks which were escorted to detention centres by police motorcycles.

Policemen on the scene said the migrants had said they came from Libya and they originated from various countries. The group included two young girls and a pregnant woman.

Unusually, there were also 12 Kurds.

The migrants said they had been on the boat for two days.

The landing is the biggest single arrival in many years.

A group of 139 migrants was rescued off Malta on December 29 and was followed by another group of 161 brought to Malta on the ship Overseas Primar last month.

See also:

http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20090201/local/migrants-to-be-repatriated-ministry

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