An Ethiopian court has charged two men over the deaths of four Ethiopians who died while attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea to go to Italy.

The state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting Corporation reported Wednesday that the two suspects, Ethiopians identified as Umer Musa and Abdel Menan Adem, were charged with "holding people hostage."

Prosecutors said the two defendants, in collaboration with accomplices in Sudan and Libya, accepted money to transport the four migrants who drowned in the Mediterranean in March 2015.

The same court also charged another man, identified as Mohammed Ahmed, for allegedly smuggling people who were brutally killed by the Islamic State group in Libya in April.

The Ethiopian government is drafting a new law to strengthen punishments for human trafficking.