With reference to the BBC story that broke last week on the death of some Ghanaian and Nigerian immigrants at sea, and who were apparently thrown overboard because of religious differences, we have sent our Consular Officer from our mission in Italy to visit the centre in Palermo where some of the migrants are being held and our mission/embassy has reported back as follows:
Our Consular officer went to Palermo as we were informed that was where the surviving migrants were being held to meet them and the authorities investigating the matter.
Our Officer met with the deputy provincial prosecutor and his assistant in Palermo who are actually directly in charge of investigating these boats disasters. Six Ghanaians have been confirmed dead. Only 3 names of the drowned ones were provided by the 4 survivors at the camp. These four survivors with Two other Nigerians are the key witnesses for the prosecution. The 3 identified of the 6 drowned are: Nana Yaw, born in 1987., Kwasi Amankwa about 35years and Kwadwo Asiedu estimated to be 21years old. The four survivors and key witnesses are: Emos Yeboah born on 25/9/1981. Kwadwo Kona Augustine 14/2/1089. Kwesi Agyeman 16/9/1989 and Osman Jamal 15/03/1996.
They also confirmed that from interviews conducted with the survivors there appears to have been a fight on the boat was sparked by a religious argument. They started first with the activities of ISIS, Boko haram and then the argument became muslim christian affairs and degenerated to the point where the deceased were thrown overboard.
We have also learned that there were other Ghanaian nationals on the boat but have been taken out of Palermo to the other regions. We are expecting the location(s) to be indicated shortly so that the mission can get in touch with them as soon as they receive those details.
The Prosecutors Office in Palermo is preparing its case to prosecute those on board who were responsible for committing the crime, as previously stated the survivors are the key witnesses
We will keep the public informed on any further developments.
24th April, 2015.