Egyptian prosecutors remanded four men in custody today on suspicion of people trafficking after a migrant boat capsized in which dozens are feared to have drowned, judicial and security officials said. According to the officials, the four suspects are accused of involuntary manslaughter and human trafficking.
Dozens were killed in Egypt on Wednesday after a boat carrying illegal immigrants capsized off the Egyptian coast. The boat was heading to Europe via the Mediterranean. A local official said that the boat capsized off the coast of Kafr Al-Sheikh (north of Cairo) and was carrying 600 immigrants.
An official from the city of Motobas in the Kafr Al-Sheikh province called Ali Abdul Sattar said that coast guards were able to rescue 150 passengers of different nationalities, and are searching for the remaining passengers after seeking help from rescuers and divers. Major General Mohamed Kharisa, head of the Criminal Investigation Department in the neighbouring Al-Beheira province said that 30 bodies had been recovered at the time of writing.
Major General Mohamed Kharisa added that the boat passed by Moghaizal Tower, Kafr Al-Sheikh in the direction of Italy in an attempt to immigrate illegally, and that bodies were recovered and taken to hospitals. The search for missing people continues.
Illegal attempts to migrate are often made from areas close to the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, northern Egypt, in order to cross it into Europe. The Egyptian army regularly arrests dozens of illegal immigrants of different nationalities in light of complaints from the Italian authorities that the number of immigrants arriving in Italy from the Egyptian coast illegally has doubled.
The Head of the Italian Intelligence Department and Homeland Security Mario Parenti confirmed in August that the number of illegal immigrants arriving from Egypt has increased significantly, and said that there has been a sharp increase of 104% in the number of migrants who set off from the Egyptian coast. He also added that “70% of those coming to Italy come from sub-Saharan Africa”.