Matteo Salvini has let 27 unaccompanied minors leave the Open Arms rescue ship, carrying more than a hundred migrants after the boat spent more than two weeks waiting for a port to disembark in.
The 27 children could leave the Open Arms ship despite it being “contrary to my policy”, Matteo Salvini said in a statement on Saturday.
But the remaining 105 adults and two accompanied children must stay on the ship operated by the Spanish aid group, he said.
In a tweet later on, Salvini added that some of those rescued weren’t actually children.
It comes after the boat’s captain, Oscar Camps, said the migrants were “psychologically broken” and the vessel was like a bomb about to explode.
He called for them to be evacuated immediately and said the NGO could no longer guarantee their safety.
The migrants, most of whom are African, were picked up off the coast of Libya and have been waiting to come ashore on the Italian island of Lampedusa for more than two weeks.
“After … six medical evacuations and having told authorities about our situation without receiving an answer, we are in a situation of need and we cannot guarantee the security of the 134 people on board,” Camps said.
“It is terrible, the things that are happening are not only physical but psychological. The conditions in which they were staying in Libya and now in the ship, it is just terrible, with 130 people and two toilets,” he added.
“Evacuation of unaccompanied minors completed,” Open Arms tweeted after the Italian coastguard collected the children and took them to Lampedusa port.
Via AlJazeera / Euronews /ANSA