Italian interior ministry sources on Wednesday knew about the escape. But Caritas Italiana chief Father Francsco Soddu told ANSA “it’s a voluntary departure, not an escape.
“You flee a state of detention and that is not the case here, no one wants to stay in Italy, that is well-known”.
Some 100 Eritrean migrants were moved to the centre last week after a standoff between Interior Minister Matteo Salvini and the EU about the flood of migrants into Italy.
They are currently being moved to dioceses across Italy who have indicated a willingness to take the migrants in.
Salvini refused the Diciotti to dock for 10 days, saying the migrants would not land until the EU agreed to take them in.
In the end Catholic bishops agreed to take 100 while Ireland and Albania said they would take in 20 each.
“It is clear that I had to stop the migrant landings,” Salvini said in an interview on Monday. “Last year in the period up to August, 100 000 migrants arrived and the European Union did little or nothing. This year we had fewer than 20 000 landings, and the European Union is still doing little or nothing.”
Salvini also said Chancellor Angela Merkel “underestimated” the problems associated with mass immigration and added that her open-border policy has led to violence.
“I would say that Angela Merkel certainly underestimated the risk of a social clash when she claimed that there was space for hundreds of thousands of people in Germany,” Salvini told German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle.
“I still remember what happened during the New Year’s Eve celebrations in Cologne in 2015, and also elsewhere,” he noted.
“Violence is never a solution,” Salvini told Deutsche Welle. “Violence calls for violence, but the German government has been underestimating the problem for years, and the rise of the AfD is clearly a reaction.”
Salvini said speculators were happy to sound the alarm about his leadership, but they are misguided. “Our government is free and independent from the multinationals, from big finance, from banking powers — both international and European. We have no fears. The Italian economy is sound. Italian business is sound.”