AGRIGENTO, ITALY - Italian police said on Saturday (March 18) they had arrested a Ghanaian man for alleged murder, rape, kidnapping and people-smuggling, after migrants he is accused of mistreating attacked him at a reception centre on the Mediterranean island of Lampedusa.
According to the arrest warrant, the African migrants turned on 20-year-old Eric Ackom, known to his assailants as Fanti, when they recognised him as one of a gang that had kidnapped and tortured them in Libya during their voyage to Italy.
The warrant, issued by police in the Sicilian city of Agrigento and seen by Reuters, illustrates the plight of thousands of migrants fleeing war and poverty who increasingly fall victim to criminal gangs operating in lawless Libya. It also contains testimony by numerous migrants of the treatment they received after being kidnapped by Ackom and other gang members, including rape, scalding with boiling water and beatings.
The migrants, from Ivory Coast, Guinea and Nigeria, said they were held in a guarded compound in the Libyan desert where they were threatened with guns and forced to telephone relatives to request money while they were being tortured.