Bodies of 26 Nigerian women found in rubber boats at sea

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BBC has reported on Monday that Italian prosecutors have commenced investigations into the deaths of 26 Nigerian women whose bodies were recovered at sea.

The victims, who are mostly teenagers, aged 14-18, are believed to have been sexually abused and murdered as they attempted to cross the Mediterranean.

Following several rescues, their bodies were discovered in a Spanish warship, Cantabria, carrying 375 migrants and the dead women; 23 of whom women had been on a rubber boat with 64 other people.

Italian media reported that the women’s bodies were being kept in a refrigerated section of the warship. Most of the 375 survivors brought to Salerno were sub-Saharan Africans from Nigeria, Senegal, Ghana, The Gambia and Sudan.

Five migrants are being questioned in the southern port of Salerno. A Spanish warship, Cantabria, docked there carrying 375 migrants and the dead women, following several rescues.

Twenty-three of the dead women had been on a rubber boat with 64 other people.

Among them were 90 women – eight of them pregnant – and 52 children. There were also some Libyan men and women on board.

People-smuggling gangs charge each migrant about $6,000 (£4,578) to get to Italy, $4,000 of which is for the trans-Saharan journey to Libya, according to the Italian aid group L’Abbraccio.

Many migrants have reported violence, including torture and sexual abuse, by the gangs.

In the year to 1 November, 150,982 migrants arrived in southern Europe by boat from North Africa, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) reports.

Of them, 111,552 (nearly 75%) came via the Central Mediterranean route to Italy. The number who died on that route was 2,639, the IOM says.

The others arrived in Greece, Cyprus or Spain. The total is less than half the 335,158 who arrived in the same period of 2016.

Last year the total for Greece was higher than that for Italy.

Source: BBC

 

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