Migrants arrested for alleged sea killings

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© REUTERS / Cordon Press.
Migrants pictured in the southern Spanish port of Tarifa in 2014.


SPANISH police have arrested two Cameroonian migrants for allegedly killing up to 10 others by pushing them overboard as they tried to reach Spain in a makeshift boat from Morocco. 

The December incident occurred in stormy conditions with only 29 of the original 50 migrants reaching Spanish shores. They were treated at a refugee internment centre in Almeria. A police spokesperson said that a fight had broken out on board when a Nigerian priest began to pray that the boat wouldn’t sink and several other Nigerians joined in.

The two Cameroonians allegedly blamed the bad weather on the praying and began to beat the Nigerians with wooden panels pulled from the boat. It’s alleged that they pushed an unknown amount of people overboard after stealing up to €1,500 from them beforehand. Police say the number was between seven and 10. 

Those missing who weren’t pushed overboard are believed to have fallen into the sea in the stormy weather. Spain’s Red Cross said that seven babies lost their lives during the crossing.

The police spokesperson said that suspicions were aroused when the Nigerian survivors were seen to keep their distance from the two Cameroonians at the refugee centre. It’s believed that three survivors told authorities what had occurred on the boat.

During 2014 Spain’s maritime rescue services came to the aid of around 3,500 migrants trying to reach Spain in search of a better life. This figure is a 55 per cent increase on the previous year. 

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