What happened? The Afghan Embassy in Italy announced on Saturday that after identifying victims from the shipwreck caused due to the boat capsizing off the coast of Italy, it has been reported that 32 of the dead were migrants from Afghanistan.
- The embassy stated there were probably about 180 people on board and 67 bodies have been recovered so far.
- Almost all relatives of the victims have allowed the Italian government officials to bury their family members in the cemetery in the city of Crotone and nearby cemeteries, the embassy statement said.
- The Taliban earlier issued a statement calling on aid agencies to transport the bodies of the victims to Afghanistan.
- The Afghan Embassy in Italy also added that five Afghan refugees had been taken to Crotone Hospital for treatment and another 72 have been transferred to a refugee centre.
- Khaled Ahmad Zekriya, Afghanistan’s ambassador to Italy, said that in a meeting with Italian Foreign Ministry officials, he stressed on the acceleration of the investigation into the incident.
Zoom out: On February 27, an inflatable boat carrying Afghan refugees sank off the coast of the southern Italian city of Crotone. The boat had been carrying migrants from Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan and crashed against rocks during rough sea weather, according to officials.
- Earlier, the Taliban had announced that 80 Afghan refugees had died in the incident.
- “With great sadness, we learned that 80 Afghan refugees, including women and children, who were travelling from Turkey to Italy in a wooden boat, drowned and died in the southern sea of Italy,” the Taliban’s foreign ministry had stated.
- According to the U.N. agency for refugees, Afghans made up over half of all arrivals last year by sea between Turkey and Italy.