Vigil held for 800 African refugees lost at sea

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SAN DIEGO- Dozens of mourners gathered in Mission Bay Monday to remember the hundreds of North Africans who died attempting to flee Eritrea.

Over-crowed, dilapidated boats leave Libya daily, carrying refugees hoping to reach the shores of Italy, but few make it. European authorities report 800 documented immigrants died while attempting the crossing last week alone.

“They are searching for their freedom. How can we deny them?” said Haile Rufael, an Eritrean activist. Even before the immigrants make it to the boats, they are subjected to extreme peril.

“ISIS killed my cousin. He just wanted to leave,” saidTesfay, an Eritrean immigrant.

ISIS is targeting Christians in Libya, and family members say immigrants are sitting ducks while waiting for their boats to arrive.

Activists say the deaths will continue until the repressive regime of Eritrea changes.