Italian authorities in Agrigento have arrested four foreign national human traffickers, one of whom is believed to be connected to the deaths of four migrants, including a woman.
The four alleged people smugglers, three Egyptian nationals and a man from Guinea, were taken into custody by Italian state police in the Sicilian city of Agrigento on Thursday morning following an investigation into landings on the island of Lampedusa last month.
“All of them violated the rules provided for by the Consolidated Law on Illegal Immigration by transporting non-EU citizens to Italian territory, for which the status of irregular foreigners was then ascertained, leading them from the African coasts to Italian territorial waters, onboard boats unsuitable to make the crossing,” investigators said.
According to a report from the newspaper Il Giornale, the 24-year-old Guinean national is believed to be connected to illegal migrant boat landings on Lampedusa on December 17th, including a boat that was discovered by Italian authorities in which a woman was found dead.
The woman was said to have been travelling with her 14-year-old son according to Italian media reports at the time.
The reception center on the island of Lampedusa is built to only house around 250 migrants but has once again become overloaded. https://t.co/TWoiUBPB87
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) December 20, 2021
The three Egyptians, aged 42 and 43, are said to be linked to a migrant boat landing on December 22nd, that saw 75 migrants, mostly Bangladeshi nationals, arrive on the island. The arrest of the three men came after testimony from migrants themselves, who spoke to investigators.
Over the course of 2021, Lampedusa saw a surge of migrant arrivals on its shores. With a population of just 6,500, the island saw at least 35,000 illegal immigrants arrive, an all-time record and a significant increase from the previous year.
The number of migrants coming to the island has frequently overwhelmed the island migrant reception facility, which is built to house just 250 people. In August, the facility was home to 900 migrants as landings continued.