ROME (AP) — Police in Sicily have arrested three Egyptians who allegedly were in charge of a smuggling boat on which a 10-year-old Syrian girl with diabetes died after the smugglers threw her insulin overboard.
The 335 migrants arrived in port in Augusta, Sicily, on Wednesday after a week at sea. They had left port near Alexandria, Egypt, according to Save the Children. Agency spokeswoman Giovanna di Benedetto said Saturday the parents reported that as soon as the family of eight boarded, the traffickers threw the backpack containing the 10-year-old's insulin overboard. She died during the trip.
The ANSA news agency said three Egyptians were arrested on suspicion of aiding illegal immigration, though not with homicide, since the smugglers who threw the insulin overboard were purportedly the trip organizers in Egypt.
Premier Matteo Renzi mentioned the girls' death in a speech Saturday in hopes of calming mounting tensions in Italy over resettling would-be refugees, whose numbers have taxed Italy's overcrowded refugee centers.
Police in Rome scuffled with residents this week who were protesting the transfer of a few dozen migrants to their neighborhood, while in Treviso, residents set fire to mattresses of a condo where 100 migrants were to be put up temporarily. The would-be refugees were subsequently transferred.
Renzi acknowledged the politicized anti-immigrant sentiment in Italy, especially from the country's right-wing Northern League party.
"We can discuss everything, but let's still be human when facing the pain of someone who has the right to dignity," Renzi said. "When a little girl dies, we can't allow ourselves to renounce being human beings for the sake of a percentage point."