Muslim migrants seeking to leave Africa for Europe allegedly killed 12 fellow passengers by throwing them overboard after discovering they were Christian, according to Italian police.
One hundred and five people, hailing from a variety of African countries including Nigeria, Mali and Senegal, left Libya in an inflatable rubber boat on Tuesday. At some point during the journey towards Italy, a feud broke out, apparently because 12 of the passengers professed faith in Christianity rather than Islam. In response, the 12 were thrown overboard. The boat was eventually intercepted by the Italian navy, which transferred the passengers to another ship that eventually landed them in Palermo, Sicily.
After being informed by survivors about the jettisoned passengers, 15 men were arrested by Italian police, who have accused them of “multiple aggravated murder motivated by religious hate,” according to the BBC. Thus far, none of the 12 thrown overboard have been found and they are feared dead.
This possible atrocity comes in the midst of an enormous wave of boat migration by Africans seeking to enter Europe. Thousands of Africans, either by claiming refugee status or by claiming to be under 18, have been able to win the right to stay in Europe if they can successfully reach the continent’s shores.
The journey is perilous, however. Hundreds of migrants are believed to have died trying to reach Europe since the start of 2015, though most deaths are the result of migrants relying on overcrowded, unsafe vessels to make the voyage.
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