26 Nigerian Women and Girls have been murdered while attempting to cross the Mediterranean sea to Italy.
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.
Two men named as Al Mabrouc Wisam Harar, from Libya, and Egyptian Mohamed Ali Al Bouzid. charged with people trafficking and police investigate suspected murder after bodies recovered from shipwrecks
The two men are accused of organising and trafficking at least 150 people on the two sunken boats, but prosecutors have not made a direct link between the two men and the women’s deaths, said Rosa Maria Falasca, chief of staff at Salerno’s prefecture.
According to Italian Officials, Autopsies on the bodies should be completed over the next week.
Most of the survivors were either Nigerian or from other sub-Saharan countries including Ghana, Sudan and Senegal.
The survivors were among over 2,560 migrants saved over four days. People still continue to attempt the crossing despite a pact between Italy and Libya to stem the flow, which led to a drop in arrivals by almost 70% since the summer, according to figures released last week by Italy’s interior ministry.