Body of Man Shot Dead by Smugglers Found Aboard Migrant Boat

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The body of a man allegedly shot and killed by people smugglers was found on a boat by a migrant taxi NGO that now has over 400 migrants aboard their vessel after finding several other boats in the Mediterranean sea.

The Spanish migrant taxi NGO Open Arms stated that they found the body of the man aboard a boat in the Mediterranean and that the other migrants on board the boat claimed the man had been shot dead prior to the voyage. They claimed people smugglers had forced the migrants to bring the body of the man with them before the NGO picked them up.

The operation was just one in a series of others by the Open Arms Uno, a large vessel belonging to the NGO which can carry as many as a thousand migrants and was only recently put to sea, beginning its first mission last month.

As of Monday, the Open Arms Uno had picked up a total of 402 migrants in the central Mediterranean and claimed that several of the migrants were in need of medical attention due to suffering from dehydration and other conditions, the European Union-funded website InfoMigrants reports.

The inhumane cruelty of people smugglers whose businesses are able to operate because Europe’s weak border rules make trafficking profitable is demonstrated frequently across the Mediterranean, and Europe as a whole. Earlier this month, several children were left to die of dehydration by people smugglers aboard a boat heading to Italy from Turkey. Two of the children, Syrian nationals aged just one and two years old, were among the victims of the smugglers who were discovered by the Italian coastguard near Pozzallo.

Around 60 of those picked up by Open Arms in recent days are also alleged to be children and a photographer from the Associated Press who witnessed the operations claimed that many of the migrants threw themselves into the sea while being picked up by the NGO vessel, making the attempt to get them on board more difficult. As of Monday, the NGO stated it was still looking for a port in the European Union to drop off the migrants, claiming Malta had refused them port access.

Open Arms is not the only migrant taxi NGO currently operating in the central Mediterranean, as the NGO SOS Humanity, a German NGO, currently had nearly 400 migrants aboard its vessel as of Monday as well but was given access to a port in Taranto, Italy on Tuesday and is expected to drop off the migrants later this week.

The migrant taxi NGOs have added to the surge of illegal migrant arrivals to Italy this year, which saw more arrivals in the month of July alone than the entire year of 2019 and even more arrivals in August, topping over 50,000 by the end of last month.

According to UNHCR statistics, as of September 18th, the total number of illegal migrant arrivals by sea is now over 66,000 and some have projected that if current trends continue, Italy may see over 100,000 arrivals by the end of the year.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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