MADRID (AP) — Two Cameroonian migrants have been arrested for allegedly killing up to 10 others by pushing them from a boat into stormy waters in a fight over a prayer session, Spanish police said Thursday.
A spokesman said the two were arrested after several of the 29 survivors of the Dec. 3 African migrant boat crossing to Spain from Morocco told how a fight broke out when a Nigerian religious minister began praying that the boat would not sink.
He said the Cameroonians blamed the worsening weather on the pastor.
The pastor and other Nigerians praying were among those allegedly pushed over board, the spokesman said.
A police statement said the survivors were not sure how many exactly were pushed into the sea because it was night time when the fight occurred.
Police say there were some 50 people on the boat but that around 10 other migrants also died when they fell into the sea.
The spokesman said suspicions were aroused by officials who noticed that the survivors appeared afraid of the Cameroonians when they were brought ashore after the marine recue service found the boat adrift off the coast of southeastern Spain on Dec. 5.
He said police also found 1,500 euros ($1,750) on one of the detained, which survivors said the two had stolen from the victims.
African migrants seeking a better life in Europe often try to reach Spain by crossing the Mediterranean Sea from Morocco in small boats.
The officer spoke on condition of anonymity in keeping with police regulations.