Italian investigators are attempting to piece together how the bodies of 26 Nigerian women and girls ended up at sea.
Officials suspect that the women–many of which are teenagers–may have been sexually abused and murdered during their attempt to cross the Mediterranean.
Currently, five migrants are being questioned in connection to the strange incident. According to reports, 23 of the deceased had been on a rubber boat with 64 other people. The Cantabria, a Spanish warship, had docked in the southern port of Salerno with 375 migrants and the dead women, officials say.
The women’s bodies are currently being kept in a refrigerated section of the warship, with most of them ranging in age between 14 and 18. A large chunk of the migrants came to Salerno from Sub-Saharan Africa (Nigeria, Senegal, Ghana, Gambia and Sudan). Among them were 90 women and 52 children. Eight of the women were reportedly pregnant.
Men and women from Libya were also on board, the BBC reports.
According to the BBC, the migrants pay roughly $6,000 for transport to Italy, $4,000 of which goes toward the trans-Saharan journey to Libya.
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