Migrants disembark at midnight in Leuca, two smugglers identified

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SANTA MARIA DI LEUCA – And there are six of them. Six landings of migrants on the Salento coast in just twelve days, starting last August 19th. A wave of departures that suggests that the organizations trafficking human lives on the Balkan maritime route are recovering, after an inevitable, and also quite long, period of bewilderment due to the blows inflicted by the investigations of the Gico of the financial police to the beginning of the year.

And it was a patrol boat of the naval operational section of the “yellow flames” that boarded the boat that transported foreigners towards the coasts of southern Italy, a sailing ship discovered at sea several miles from Capo di Leuca. There was not even a chance for the two alleged smugglers to escape. These are two citizens of Moldovan nationality, arrested for aiding and abetting illegal immigration.

Seventy-eight foreigners in all were found on board the boat. In addition to the two subjects identified as skippers in the pay of the criminals who organized the trip, also procuring the boat, eight Afghans, five Bengalis, three Egyptians, thirty-eight Iraqis, eight Pakistanis, twelve Iranians and two Syrians. Most of them were male (sixty-six) including minors, including four unaccompanied. Another seven were, however, with their relatives. In fact, some families were also on board, including a woman who did not hesitate to travel with her newborn son.

The boat was escorted to the port of Santa Maria di Leuca. Here, waiting for the large group, crammed up to occupy almost every space of the ship, were the Salento volunteers of the Italian Red Cross for the first aid (moreover, a woman was taken to the hospital, in Tricase, for checks), the police officers of the Taurisano police station, the carabinieri employed by the Tricase company. As per the provisions of the prefecture, the migrants were transported to the “Don Tonino Bello” reception center in Otranto, for identification and waiting to establish their next destination. The anti-immigration pool of the prosecutor’s office is, on the other hand, dealing with the investigative phase.

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It was the sixth landing in just over a week, as mentioned. The first signs of a massive resumption of activities occurred on August 19, when near the Ciolo (Gagliano del Capo) the naval operations department of the financial police located a boat with seventy migrants. Just two days later, fifty-nine others were also rescued in the waters of the Cape. Even a double tracing, for over 150 total people, took place between Torre Vado and Torre San Giovanni on 27 August. Finally, on the 29th, in Corsano, a smaller group was traced, made up of a few dozen foreigners, who arrived in Salento using old and battered fishing boats.

The article is in Italian

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