According to MANA, two Sudanese men who arrived with around 1,000 other migrants at the Sicilian port of Palermo on Monday told IOM staff they left Libya in a rubber boat packed with 130 people, mainly Sudanese, IOM spokesman Flavio Di Giacomo said.
After a few hours at sea, the men said a group of Libyans caught them up. "They described (the Libyans) as pirates, but they are basically traffickers," Di Giacomo said.
"They stole the motor - something which has happened a few times recently - and at that point the boat started to take on water and sank," he said.
Gangs in Libya have built a lucrative trade out of packing migrants into rickety boats heading for Italy, where more than 65,000 have arrived so far this year. As of June 14, 1,828 were believed to have died in the attempt, according to IOM figures.