Chris Tomlinson, European Conservative, August 8, 2023
Over the weekend, a homeless Nigerian migrant attacked an Italian woman in the street in an apparent rape attempt so vicious that the woman later died in hospital from her injuries. The case is causing tensions between members of Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s coalition as League leader Matteo Salvini has demanded to know why the man was even in Italy in the first place.
The attack took place on Saturday evening at around 10:30 pm in the city of Rovereto in Trento when 61-year-old Iris Setti was walking through a public park in the Santa Maria district of the city and was set upon by the suspect, a Nigerian living on the street.
According to a report from the newspaper Il Giornale, the Nigerian may have either been trying to rape the victim or possibly trying to rob her and it is also unclear whether or not the woman knew the man.
What is clear is that she was viciously beaten, with witnesses claiming to have seen the man throw the woman to the ground hitting her in the face and head with his fists and some sort of blunt object, possibly a stone.
The suspect fled the area but was caught a short time later by members of the Carabinieri, who stopped him on the Via Maioliche and were forced to use their tasers to subdue and arrest him.
The victim was taken to a local hospital but due to the severity of the injuries she had suffered, she died several hours later. The Nigerian was later charged with voluntary homicide by the Rovereto Public Prosecutor’s office.
The Nigerian is not said to be unfamiliar with law enforcement in Italy and has been known for prior acts of violence, including an incident in August of last year in which he went on a rampage attacking parked cars and threatening random people with a broken bottle.
The case has caused tensions between members of the ruling Italian coalition government headed by Prime Minister Meloni, with League leader and Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini demanding to know why the Nigerian was in the country at all, calling on Interior Minister Matteo Piantedosi to clarify the matter.
“This murderer had already been stopped in the past for violent actions, we will ask to go all the way, as Minister Piantedosi has already rightly announced, to understand why such a delinquent was still at large,” Salvini said.
Minister Piantedosi , who previously worked under Salvini when the latter served as Interior Minister in 2017 and 2018, stated that “the barbaric murder of the woman in Rovereto is a very serious matter.”
“I asked the Chief of Police to arrange every necessary investigation and a detailed reconstruction of the story, also to understand if there was something that did not work,” he said and added that further investigations were needed to establish all the facts in the case.
According to the Interior Minister, the government is working on a September security package that will strengthen law enforcement tools, including updates in video surveillance that will use facial recognition technologies.
The murder is not the first high-profile killing by a migrant in Italy in recent years as the country has been rocked by many such slayings, including the killing of 18-year-old Pamela Mastropietro in 2018, who was killed by a Nigerian drug dealer who then dismembered her corpse and left it in suitcases by the side of a road.
However, last weekend’s killing comes after months of inaction on illegal immigration from Giorgia Meloni’s government, despite promises made on the campaign trail last year, including radical proposals such as a naval blockade of the Mediterranean Sea.
Instead, the number of illegal arrivals has surged under the Meloni government compared to the same period the year prior.
A report from the European Union border agency Frontex notes that in the first six months of this year, the number of arrivals across the Mediterranean to Italy has increased by 137% compared to the same period in 2022. That route is now the largest single entryway to the European Union overall.
While Prime Minister Meloni has made attempts to negotiate with Tunisia and work with the European Union to tackle illegal immigration and people smuggling, numbers remain high, with the month of July alone seeing more than 21,000 illegal arrivals according to statistics from the United Nations migration agency UNHCR.