Sunday Okobi with Agency Report
Not even the precarious state they were in an unstable vessel atop the Mediterranean Sea could tame the intolerance of some Nigerian Muslims as they threw 12 fellow Christian immigrants into the sea, to their death, because they refused to pray in the name of Allah.
When a rubber dinghy carrying around 100 African refugees across the Mediterranean began to sink, a Nigerian Christian prayed for his life in an innocent act that would end in the death of 12 fellow migrants.
One of the Muslims on board the rickety craft ordered him to stop, saying: “Here, we only pray to Allah.”
When he refused, a violent fight ensued and 12 Christians drowned when they were thrown overboard by the Muslim refugees.
The tragic news comes amid reports that an unprecedented 10,000 refugees fleeing war and persecution in Africa have been rescued by Italian ships in the past week.
The unrest in parts of Africa has increased the volume of migrants fleeing war-torn countries or countries under heavy insurgency. But over 900 making the perilous journey have either died or gone missing since the start of the year and 400 migrants died in two shipwrecks last week.
Those who witnessed the African Christians being murdered on the crammed dinghy told investigators how Nigerian Muslims became angry at a Christian who started praying.
‘They told him that they would throw him overboard if he didn’t stop praying to God,’ he said, according to La Republica.
The witness added: “They started shouting, two pushed the lad and he fell in the sea and drowned.”
The Muslims ‘went mad’ and began screaming “Allah is great” before they attacked migrants who tried to defend the boy, according to The Times.
When 12 migrants were mercilessly thrown overboard, the other Christians formed a human chain and protected themselves against the attackers by clinging to the dinghy.
A rescue ship arrived one hour later, according to a Ghanaian witness called Yeboah.
Italian police arrested 15 people suspected of the killing including Ousmane Camar from the Ivory Coast.
Meanwhile, a six-month-old baby with severe burns on her face was among the traumatised survivors of another sea rescue near Italy’s Lampedusa Island on Friday
The infant was one of the 70 refugees on board the half-inflated rubber dinghy that was rescued by the Italian coastguard after two days adrift on the Mediterranean Sea.
Many of the migrants on board suffered horrific burns from a gas explosion before departing from Libya, but were forced on the smugglers’ boat without treatment.
The UN Refugee Agency said the explosion occurred at a holding centre run by smugglers who demand thousands of pounds for a place on the dangerous boats.
Another 21-year-old was identified by the wound on his big toe which he received when a migrant he threw overboard bit him.
The boat’s passengers reportedly looked distressed when it finally arrived in the port of Palermo in southern-Italy last Wednesday.
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