A suspected Nigerian human trafficker known as “Rambo” has been arrested in Italy on charges of torturing and killing migrants held captive in Libya, Italian police said Tuesday.
The suspect named John Ogais, 25, was traced to a reception centre in Calabria in southern Italy and clapped in cuffs on charges of belonging to a transnational smuggling ring, specialising in human trafficking, murder and rape.
Detectives in Agrigento in Sicily have pulled together witness testimony from migrants who accuse Ogais of torturing people held captive in a makeshift prison, with at least two men reportedly dying at his hands.
Many of those rescued from flimsy dinghies in the Mediterranean as they try to make the perilous trip to Europe bear torture scars and tell rescuers they had no choice but to flee for their lives from the crisis-hit African country.
According to police statement, one of the witnesses said that his cousin and others had been caught and tortured nearly to death while they tried to escape.
Another said: “Once I saw Rambo the Nigerian kill a migrant he had gagged and tortured for a long time.” The Libyan Express reports.
A third witness said he saw Rambo beat an underage boy and a man to death.
People rescued at sea have described harrowing ransom situations in which captors lock up migrants and demand their families send money to buy their freedom. Those who fail to comply are executed.
Reports have also emerged of ruthless traffickers burying people alive on the beaches of Libya if they refuse to board unseaworthy dinghies and overcrowded boats.
Despite the dangers, many of those arriving in Libya — fleeing conflict or poverty — find it almost impossible to get out again, if not by sea, this according to AFP
According to a report by the UN’s Refugee agency, over 77,000 people have tried to cross the Mediterranean to Europe since the beginning of the year, close to 2,000 have tried trying to cross.