By Mark Ellis, Special to ASSIST News Service
PALERMO, ITALY (ANS – November 23, 2015) — On a crowded rubber boat filled with refugees traveling from Libya to Italy, Muslims threw 12 fellow passengers overboard — killing them — because the 12 were Christians, Italian police said Thursday.
Italian authorities arrested 15 people on the boat and charged them with murdering the Christians at sea, police in Palermo told CNN.
The original group of 105 people left Libya on Tuesday. Sometime during the trip north across the Mediterranean Sea, the alleged assailants — Muslims from the Ivory Coast, Mali and Senegal — threw the 12 overboard, police told CNN.
Other people on the voyage told police that they themselves were spared “because they strongly opposed the drowning attempt and formed a human chain,” Palermo police reported.
The boat was stopped by an Italian navy ship, which removed the passengers and placed them on a Panamanian ship. That ship reached Palermo on Wednesday, after which the arrests were made, CNN reported.
The 12 who died were from Nigeria and Ghana, police said.
Thousands of refugees make the treacherous journey each year from North Africa to Europe’s Mediterranean coast, often aboard vessels poorly suited for such a trip. Many are trying to escape war and impoverished circumstances in Africa and the Middle East.
More than 10,000 people arrived on Italian shores from Libya since last weekend alone, the Italian coast guard reported to CNN.
Photo caption: Migrants are transferred to holding centers after landing in Italy
About the writer: Mark Ellis is senior correspondent for the ASSIST News Service (www.assistnews.net) and also the founder of www.Godreports.com, a website that shares stories, testimonies and videos from the church around the world to build interest in world missions.
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