Italy minister meets Sicily mayor over feared terrorists among migrants

ROME, Oct. 11 (Xinhua) -- Italian Interior Minister Marco Minniti on Wednesday met with a southern mayor who had raised the alarm as to possible terrorists infiltrating themselves among recent migrant arrivals from Tunisia.

Roberto Ammatuna, mayor of the town of Pozzallo located on the southeastern tip of Sicily, wrote Minniti on Oct. 5 that "I am concerned over...(this week's) arrivals, which appear to include not only people fleeing war and misery, but also criminals".

"Migration from Tunisia is a cause for concern as to possible infiltrations by possible jihadi cell members," Ammatuna wrote.

The minister assured the mayor that government will beef up "controls at sea to combat illegal immigration" and that it "fully supports the city of Pozzallo", according to an Interior Ministry statement.

An Interior Ministry spokeswoman contacted by Xinhua declined to give more details as to additional security measures the government plans to enact in Pozzallo and other seaside communities on the front lines of the migration crisis.

"We've been noticing a different composition in the migrants who've been arriving over the past week," Ammatuna told RAI public broadcaster in a televised interview last week.

Arrivals included 140 "young men from Tunisia" whose behavior was aggressive, Ammantuna said.

Minister Minniti has been very active on the migration front, enacting policies to stem the flow of people trying to reach Italy on human traffickers' boats.

He struck deals with Libyan authorities, where most of the human traffickers' boats leave from, and required humanitarian NGOs operating in the Mediterranean to sign a code of conduct that restricted their range of action.

Also on Wednesday, the Interior Ministry announced on its official website that a total of 107,772 migrants had reached Italy since Jan. 1 this year, a drop of 25.49 percent over the same period in 2016.

[ Editor: meng ]
 

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