The Guardian newspaper revelead evidence recently on how the British Oil company Trafigura tried to cover-up one of the worst pollution disasters which affected the health of more than 30,000 people in Ivory Coast.
This is probably one of the few cases revealed to the public opinion. God knows how many companies must have been following the example of Trafigura in hoping to make fortunes by causing environmental tragedies.
In Italy, a former mobster named Francesco Fonti admitted he had personally shipped toxic and radioactive waste to Somalia. That traffic could have led to the death of reporter Ilaria Alpi and her cameraman Milan Hrovatin.
Several cases, where the Sea was being used as a disposal area for radioactive and toxic waste, have come to light. Up to 41 ships could have been intentionally sunk off the shores of Italy, Spain, Greece, reaching as far as Asia and Africa. This was part of a lucrative business organised by the ‘Ndrangheta’, the Calabria based mafia syndicate.
The repented mobster provided evidence of his involvement in the sinking of three ships, the Cunsky, the Maratea and the Voriais Sporadais. Italian Authorities sent down a robot in the depths of the coast of Cetraro where the Cunsky was thought to have been sunk. The image and the position of the ship coincided exactly with the account given by Francesco Fonti.
The toxic waste, according to Fonti, came from Italian and European pharmaceutical companies and the ‘Ndrangheta was paid between 1.5 to 15 million euros to sink the ships. Fonti also claims that some military intelligence agents were involved in brokering a deal between local politicians and intermediaries with the Ndrangheta.
The death of Ilaria Alpi and Milan Hrovatin in March 1994 has brought to light an incredible Somali kickback scandal which explains the mystery still surrounding their death 14 years on.
In 2005, during an audition in front to the Italian parliamentary commission investigating the death of Ilaria Alpi and Milan Hrovatin, an incredible detail was revealed. An Italian Entrepeneur had proposed 5 million dollars to the groups controlling Somalia to drop radioactive waste off their coast and 10,000 dollars in bribes, for each missile dumped, to Ali Mahdi, one of the faction leaders through financial transfers made abroad. Copies of faxes sent to Ali Mahdi’s deputy, Abdullahi Ahmed Afrah, in the autumn of 1994 were provided as evidence.
Francesco Fonti stated that he was sure about the motivations behind the killing of the two journalists: “I have personally taken radioactive waste to the Horn of Africa. When we arrived in the port of Bosaso, Italian Soldiers would turn around and close an eye. I am sure that Ilaria Alpi was killed because she witnessed something she was not supposed to see.”
Ilaria Alpi was an Italian journalist working for the Italian Television Broadcaster RAI. She was killed in Mogadiscio on the 20th of March 1994 together with her cameraman under mysterious circumstances.
At the time of their murder, Ilaria Alpi was following a case of weapon and illegal toxic waste traffic in which she believed the Italian Army, its secret intelligence and other government institutions were involved.
In 2002, a movie about her life directed by Ferdinando Vincentini Ornagni was released. It is entitled “Ilaria Alpi – Il piu’ crudele dei giorni” (Ilaria Alpi – The most cruel of days).