A dozen Christian asylum seekers drowned in the Mediterranean after they were thrown overboard by Muslim migrants in a furious row fueled by “religious hatred” on a smuggler boat sailing from Libya to Italy.
Italian police last night were investigating the deaths, which emerged from testimony provided by the 100 other asylum seekers on board the vessel. The boat was rescued by Italian ships and brought to Palermo in Sicily.
Fifteen Muslim migrants, believed to be from Senegal, Ivory Coast,and Mali, were arrested, accused of having thrown the Christians from Ghana and Nigeria into the sea after the fight broke out.
They are suspected of being responsible for “multiple aggravated murders, motivated by religious hatred”, police said.
“The threats then materialised and 12 people, all Nigerian and Ghanaian, are believed to have drowned in the Mediterranean,” they said.
The attackers were identified by other refugees, some of whom were in tears as they recounted the story to Italian authorities.4