Dead migrant thrown to the sharks by human trafficker

It is believed that the man died after breathing in petrol that spilled onto him  as the stricken vessel made its voyage

Michael Day
Tuesday 14 April 2015 20:23 BST
An Italian military ship with would be immigrants onboard in the port of Pozzallo, Sicily, last year
An Italian military ship with would be immigrants onboard in the port of Pozzallo, Sicily, last year (Getty Images)

A human trafficker threw a dead migrant to the sharks, it was reported on Tuesday in the latest horror story to emerge from the deadly exodus of migrants from North Africa to Europe.

Police from the Sicilian city of Ragusa arrested the suspected trafficker from Guinea who arrived at the port of Pozzallo on Monday with a group of migrants after their dinghy was rescued by a Maltese vessel. Some of the refugees said the suspect had thrown the migrant’s corpse overboard to deter sharks that were following their stricken vessel.

The migrant is said to have died after breathing in petrol that spilled over him due to rough sea conditions. Ragusa police are also investigating the alleged trafficker for manslaughter in relation to the migrant’s death.

One of the witnesses was quoted by the website: "We saw him collapse, he vomited and then fell face down in the centre of the soon as we realised he had died someone wanted to throw him in the water but the Nigerians didn’t want to, saying he was with them. But then at one point I saw them throw him in the water…”

Il Gazzettino reported that some of the migrants told police that their dinghy was being followed by a pack of sharks. When the migrant died "the idea was hatched to throw him to the predators to keep them away".

The human trafficker is the fifteenth to be arrested in Sicily this year. The suspect arrived in Pozzallo along with 110 migrants, including eight women and a child, from Mali, The Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Senegal and Ghana.

There were 10 separate rescue operation in the Channel of Sicily on Monday. As result, over 3,000 migrants are expected to land in various ports in southern Italy within the next 24 hours.

The Italian foreign minister, Paolo Gentiloni, said in a radio interview on Tuesday, that the problem of uncontrolled migration from Africa had “to be resolved at the root” by stabilising the situation in Libya.

It is not clear if the migrants arriving at Pozzallo came from Libya. But with the oil-rich North African country in chaos, thanks to the presence of rival governments and Islamic terror groups, Italian government sources have previously warned that up to 500,000 migrants might attempt to flee across the Mediterranean this year, because there are currently no state controls in place to stop them.

Nearly 500 asylum seekers drowned in the Mediterranean in the first three months of this year, compared with 46 in the first three months of 2014.

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