Italian security authorities have arrested two men in connection to the 26 Nigerian girls and women who were sexually abused and murdered while trying to cross the Mediterranean to Europe.
The two men, named as Al Mabrouc Wisam Harar, from Libya, and Egyptian Mohamed Ali Al Bouzid, have been charged by investigators after they were identified by survivors as the captains of one of the boats where the victims were killed.
Most of the dead victims are teenagers aged 14 to 18 with 23 of the victims having been traveling with 64 other people.
Spanish warship, Cantabria, docked at the southern port of Salerno on Sunday, November 5, 2017, carrying 375 survivors and the dead women kept in a refrigerated section of the warship.
The bodies of the victims were recovered from two separate shipwrecks, 23 from one and three from the other, after rescue operations by Cantabria which works as part of the European Union‘s Sophia anti-trafficking operation.
According to a report by La Repubblica, most of the 375 survivors were sub-Saharan Africans, from Nigeria, Senegal, Ghana, The Gambia and Sudan, with 90 women – eight of them pregnant – and 52 children.
Describing the incident as a “very tough experience”, he said cases of abuse are very common as traffickers take advantage of people, most especially women.
He said, “It’s very rare to find a woman who hasn’t been abused, only in exceptional cases, maybe when they are travelling with their husband. But also women travelling alone with their children have been abused.”
One of the survivors, 23-year-old Dora Omoruyi from Edo State, said she embarked on the journey because she saw no future for herself in Nigeria.
“I wanted to reach Italy. I don’t know what to do now. I see no future in Nigeria, there are no jobs.”
According to Salerno prefect, Salvatore Malfi, an autopsy on the bodies should be completed over the next week.
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