The bodies of 26 women believed to be Nigerian have been recovered from the Mediterranean sea off Italy.
According to reports, the women were trying to reach Europe from Libya. There are suspicions that the women may have been sexually abused and murdered as they attempted the dangerous Mediterranean crossing.
Italian prosecutors are now investigating the exact circumstances, and are questioning five migrants in the southern port of Salerno.
Italian media reports that the women’s bodies are being kept in a refrigerated section of the warship, most of them were aged between 14 – 18.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) says in the last one year, 150,982 migrants arrived in southern Europe by boat from North Africa. Of them, 111,552 (nearly 75%) came via the Central Mediterranean route to Italy. The number who died on that route was 2,639 while the others arrived in Greece, Cyprus or Spain.