Sabahi (Washington, DC)

8 November 2013

Somalia: Somali Man Arrested in Connection With Refugee Shipwreck Off Italy

Italian police have arrested a 34-year-old Somali man in connection with the boat disaster off the coast of Italy last month in which hundreds of African migrants died, AFP reported Friday (November 8th).

The man, named by police as Elmi Mouhamud Muhidin, was arrested on the island of Lampedusa where he was living in an overcrowded migrant centre and pretending to be one of the refugees. Investigators said some of the survivors of the tragedy had spotted him at the centre and identified him as a member of a trafficking ring that smuggles migrants from Libya to Italy.

Together with some Libyan militiamen, the man is also accused of taking part in dozens of rapes while the migrants were being held in a refugee detention centre in the Libyan desert.

The boat's Tunisian captain, Khaled Bensalam, was detained immediately after the tragedy on charges of manslaughter.

The shipwreck killed 366 migrants, many from Eritrea and Somalia, after the boat caught fire and capsised near the shore of the Italian island of Lampedusa on October 3rd.

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