Agence France Presse, May 11, 2011
An inquiry was begun Wednesday to confirm the allegations of a refugee from Libya who said that a number of passengers on board his boat were thrown overboard as human sacrifices in order to calm a storm. A Ghanaian, age 16, who was rescued during the night of Saturday/Sunday off the Italian island of Lampedusa, explained to the humanitarian association “Save the Children,” that a group of Ghanaians had conducted a ritual human sacrifice.
“It was like a sacrificial rite,” he explained to the daily La Stampa, adding that the captain of the boat had chosen the victims and that other men had thrown them overboard.
The young Ghanaian, who is now in a refugee center in Italy, said that one of his brothers was among the victims. He also said that women were raped aboard the boat.
According to press reports, other refugees have confirmed the boy’s account.
Thousands of refugees fleeing the war in Libya–for the most part workers who had immigrated from Africa and Asia–have arrived in Italy over the last several weeks in mass landings on the island of Lampedusa.
[Translation from the French by AR staff.]