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26 Nigerian girls found dead on Spanish warship

 Migrant boat used to illustrate the story [Photo credit: CBC]
No fewer than 26 young Nigerian girls, whose ages range from 14 to 18, were found dead in a Spanish warship as they tried to cross the Mediterranean Sea, last weekend.

Broadcasting Corporation, BBC, which disclosed this, yesterday, said Italian prosecutors had commenced investigations into the death of the girls.

 According to the report, the girls are believed to have been sexually abused and murdered as they attempted to cross the Mediterranean. Following several rescues, their bodies were discovered in a Spanish warship, Cantabria, also carrying 375 migrants and 23 of the dead girls had been on a rubber boat with 64 other people.

Italian media reported that the bodies were being kept in a refrigerated section of the warship and that most of the 375 survivors brought to Salerno were sub-Saharan Africans from Nigeria, Senegal, Ghana, The Gambia and Sudan. Among the 375 survivors were 90 women, eight of them pregnant, 52 children and some Libyan men and women on board.

The report said people-smuggling gangs charge each migrant about $6,000 (£4,578) to get to Italy, (the equivalent of N2,160,000 at prevailing exchange rates) $4,000 of which is for the trans-Saharan journey to Libya, adding that many migrants have reported violence, including torture and sexual abuse, by the gangs.

 Five migrants are being questioned in the southern port of Salerno. Efforts to get the reaction of the Ministry of Internal Affairs to the tragedy, yesterday, proved abortive as officials of the Ministry referred Vanguard to the Foreign Affairs Ministry, who said they would have to get in touch with Rome before reacting.