Young Jaiteh and his cohorts were arrested by the Italian carabinieri and financial police after 199 migrants arrived in the Sicilian town of Pozzallo after crossing the Strait of Sicily last Thursday. The migrants were rescued in international waters after a merchant boat in transit in that area of the sea noticed the boat was in distress.
The young immigrant from Mali suffered a sudden illness and was admitted to the hospital in Dubrovnik where he died less than 24 hours later. The outcome of the autopsy on the body was yet to be revealed.
After the landing, the Italian police immediately launched an investigation but the migrants refused to cooperate. However, following the news of the death of their fellow voyager, some of them became upset and told the authorities the conditions of their travel since they were in Libya.
From the stories revealed, the migrants had been held incommunicado for more than 15 days in a shed in Libya from which they could not leave and were refreshed with a few groceries while waiting for the next available boat to Italy and favourable sea conditions.
They said the Libyan organisers of trafficking, all armed, kept them under control while the smugglers were drilled to carry the boats and then make the journey with precise orders to request aid from the Italian authorities directly through a satellite phone at the point agreed to off the Libyan coast.
Investigators from the state police, carabinieri and financial police were able, thanks to the detailed descriptions provided by the castaways, to identify the smugglers, responsible for having received large sums of money in order to procure the illegal entry of migrants in Italy. Further investigations are in progress to identify the other cohorts of Jaiteh, Sagnang and Sonko.]]>