Italian prosecutors have commenced investigations into the death of 26 Nigerian women, whose bodies were recovered at sea, after they were believed to have been sexually abused and murdered as they attempted to cross the Mediterranean.
The victims are mostly teenagers, aged between 14-18, BBC reported on Monday.
Following several rescues, their bodies were discovered in a Spanish warship, Cantabria, carrying 375 migrants and the dead women, 23 of whom women had been on a rubber boat with 64 other people.
According to Italian media, the women’s bodies were being kept in a refrigerated section of the warship.
Most of the 375 survivors brought to Salerno were reportedly sub-Saharan Africans from Nigeria, Senegal, Ghana, The Gambia and Sudan.
Among the 375 survivors were 90 women, eight of them pregnant, 52 children and some Libyan men and women on board. Five migrants are being questioned in the southern port of Salerno as part of investigation into the matter.
Human trafficking gangs charge each migrant about $6,000 (£4,578) to get to Italy, $4,000 of which is for the trans-Saharan journey to Libya and many migrants have reported violence, including torture and sexual abuse, by the gangs.
Five migrants are being questioned in the southern port of Salerno as part of investigation into the matter.