Italy: Suspected human traffickers arrested for migrant shipwreck deaths

Italian police detained five north African men on charges of human trafficking and homicide in Palermo, Friday, after they were arrested in connection to the presumed deaths of hundreds of migrants who are feared to have drowned in the Mediterranean earlier in the week. Officers escorted the two Algerian and three Libyan men to police cars before driving away from the local Palermo precinct. Some 600 people were thought to have been aboard the ship which capsized some 24 kilometres (15 miles) off the coast of Libya, Wednesday, with 26 bodies having been recovered from the scene of the disaster. In total, over 200 are feared dead. Italian coastguards arrived late on the scene after being diverted to another emergency call, getting to the disaster site several hours behind schedule. Doctors Without Borders have already highlighted the link between the expected death toll in the tragedy and the lack of EU funding for dealing with the current migrant crisis in the Mediterranean. Over 2,000 migrants have now died attempting to cross the Mediterranean from North Africa into Europe in 2015 alone, according to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM). This figure is expected to rise higher than the 3,279 who died in 2014.

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