Monday, October 18, 2021
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Two Men Arrested And Charged In Italy Over Death Of 26 Nigerians

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Two men, one of them an Egyptian and the other a Libyan, have been arrested and charged in Italy as investigators look into the deaths of 26 Nigerian women and girls, who are suspected to have been murdered while attempting to cross the Mediterranean. The bodies of the women were brought to the southern Italian port of Salerno by the Spanish ship Cantabria on Sunday, and prosecutors opened an investigation over suspicions that the women, some as young as 14, may have been abused and killed.

The bodies were recovered by Cantabria, which works as part of the EU’s Sophia anti-trafficking operation, from two separate shipwrecks – 23 from one and three from the other. Fifty-three people are believed to be missing. The men arrested have been named as Al Mabrouc Wisam Harar, from Libya, and Egyptian Mohamed Ali Al Bouzid. The pair are believed to have skippered one of the boats. They were identified by survivors who were among the 375 brought to Salerno by Cantabria.

Salerno prefect Salvatore Malfi told the Italian press that the women had been travelling alongside men and when the vessels sank, “unfortunately, the women suffered the worst of it.” But in response to concerns that the women were being trafficked for the sex trade, he added: “Sex trafficking routes are different, with different dynamics used. Loading women on to a boat is too risky for the traffickers, as they could risk losing all of their ‘goods’ – as they like to call them – in one fell swoop.” Marco Rotunno, an Italy spokesman for the UN refugee agency (UNHCR), said his colleagues were at the port in Salerno when the bodies were brought in.

Photo Credit: Getty

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