Italy's far-right interior minister has left dozens of unaccompanied minors leave to rescue refugees carrying more than a hundred migrants after spending more than two weeks awaiting a port of call.
27 children may leave open
But the remaining 105 adults and two accompanying children must remain on board a ship operated by the Spanish relief team.
stated Mateo Salvini in a statement on Saturday. ] "Unaccompanied Minor Evacuation Completed," Open Weapons tweeted after the Italian Coast Guard gathered the children and took them to the port of Lampedusa.
"Many tears. They left friends and companions on the trip," he adds.
Desembarcados los 27 menores no acompañados.
Sigue el abuso de los que pretenden tapar un fracaso político provocando el sufrimiento innecesario a los más vulnerable.
107 people for 19 tripulantes siguen sufriendo a bordeaux. pic.twitter.com/OV9eIbOyLU
– Oscar Lager (@campsoscar) August 17, 2019
Salvini said he agreed to let the children embark at the urging of Prime Minister Gisepe Conte.
"Permission to disembark these people is Conte's sole responsibility," says Salvini, arguing that the "vast majority of Italians" share their own firm stance on the closure of Italian refugee and migrant rescue ports.
The upheaval revealed the split between Salvini's anti-immigrant league and the 5-Star Movement, which together rule Italy. Salvini, who is also deputy prime minister, is seeking to end Conte's populist coalition with a no-confidence vote and early elections that the prime minister hopes to do.
In an open letter Thursday, Conte accused Salvin of disloyalty and using immigration for political gain. He said that France, Germany, Romania, Portugal, Spain and Luxembourg agreed to accept the rescued people.
Against the background of opposition, the director of Open Weapons warned that the tension of the ship was increasing and battles were being fought between asylum seekers who were rescued after leaving devastated Habia.
Oscar Lager warned European leaders that "We cannot be held responsible for, or guarantee the safety of, people on board with open weapons," as of Saturday.
But Salvini tweets that if the ship had left for Spain instead of Italy 16 days ago, "you would already be home".
"The NGO battle is political and certainly not humanitarian, played out using the lives of migrants," he said.
Earlier this month, he signed a decree banning open arms from Italian waters, saying it was to protect public order.
But the group appealed to the administrative court, which on Wednesday suspended its ruling.
Then Salvini signed a new order blocking the ship, but Italian Defense Minister Elizabeth Trenta blocked it as an act of conscience.
While the order continued, Open Arms filed a formal complaint with prosecutors in Sicily alleging that both migrants and crew were held hostage.
Salvin and other ministers have been investigated in the past for alleged abduction stemming from previous confrontations, but no charges have ever been raised.
The Open Weapons dispute came as another humanitarian rescue boat, the Ocean Viking, maintained its course outside Italy with 356 migrants on board and no port of call.
The Norwegian ship has taken down migrants for several rescue operations in the last few days and is operated by two humanitarian groups, Doctors Without Borders and SOS Mediterranee.
Al Jazeera and News Agencies