2 Italians Stoned to Death on Cape Verde

Frances D’Emilio, AP, Feb. 10, 2007

Three Italian women were brutally attacked while vacationing on a resort island off the coast of West Africa, dragged into the woods, pelted with stones and left for dead at the bottom of a hole, the sole survivor said Saturday.

The bodies of two of the women were found half-buried near a beach Friday in the Cape Verde islands, police officer Vladmir Silva said.

Preliminary autopsy results found the victims, aged 28 and 33, died as a result of head injuries from blunt and sharp objects, the Portuguese news agency Lusa reported. Cape Verde police said official autopsy results were expected to be released Sunday.

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The women were part of a surfing group that arrived in the islands last Sunday for a weeklong vacation, said Italy’s honorary consul in Cape Verde, Luigi Zirpoli. The survivor—whom Italian news reports identified as a 17-year-old named Agnese—suffered fractures and needed 18 stitches in her head, Zirpoli said.

Speaking with Italy’s Sky TG24 TV from a hospital Saturday, Agnese recounted how she and the two other women had been invited to dinner by one of their attackers—a man who apparently had had a relationship with one of the victims.

She said the attackers sprayed the women with something and immobilized them before taking them to the woods where a hole had been dug in the ground. Speaking in a stunned voice, she said they were pelted with stones and she blacked out. When she awoke, she climbed out of the hole and walked down a road until she found help.

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The story of the attack has shocked Italians, many of whom consider the archipelago a paradise for beachgoers and windsurfers.

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Cape Verde, a former Portuguese colony, is located about 500 miles to the west of Senegal’s capital, Dakar, in the Atlantic Ocean.

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