News Brief

2 Men Have Been Arrested as Authorities Investigate the Deaths of 26 Nigerian Girls Found Dead at Sea

The two men, hailing from Egypt and Libya, have been arrested and charged with human trafficking by Italian authorities.

Authorities have arrested and charged two men in Italy as they continue to investigate the deaths of 26 Nigerian women and girls, who are suspected to have been murdered while attempting to migrate to Europe, The Guardian reports.


Al Mabrouc Wisam Harar of Libya and Mohamed Ali Al Bouzid of Egypt are believed to have skippered one of the boats.

According to Rosa Maria Falasca, chief of staff at Salerno's prefecture, survivors have identified the men, where both stand accused of organizing and trafficking over 150 people on the two sunken boats. Prosecutors have yet to link them with the women's deaths, and autopsies are expected to be completed over the next week.

Salvatore Malfi, prefect of Salerno, tells Italian media that the women had been traveling alongside men. When the vessels sank, "unfortunately, the women suffered the worst of it."

"Sex trafficking routes are different, with different dynamics used," Malfi adds, responding to concerns that the women were being trafficked for the sex trade. "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, Italy's spokesperson for the UNHCR, says that it was tough being at the port where the survivors and bodies were brought in. "One lady from Nigeria lost all her three children," he adds.

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