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US News Migration: the dead are piling up along the coasts of West Africa

01:00  30 october  2020
01:00  30 october  2020 Source:   pressfrom.com

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At least 140 migrants have drowned off the coast of Senegal in the deadliest shipwreck recorded this year, the U.N. migration agency said Thursday. The perilous sea passage from West Africa to the Canary Islands was once a major route for those seeking an escape from poverty.

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Des bateaux de pêche à Ndiebene-Gandiol près de Saint-Louis au nord du Sénégal, le 8 août 2018 © SEYLLOU Fishing boats in Ndiebene-Gandiol near Saint-Louis in northern Senegal, August 8, 2018

"At least 140 dead "for the" worst shipwreck "of the year off Senegal, dozens of missing in Mauritania and six bodies recovered near Dakar: the dramas of migration follow one another along the coasts of Africa from Where is.

Des bateaux de pêche à Ndiebene-Gandiol près de Saint-Louis au nord du Sénégal, le 8 août 2018 © SEYLLOU Fishing boats in Ndiebene-Gandiol near Saint-Louis in northern Senegal, August 8, 2018

"At least 140 people drowned after their boat, which was carrying around 200 people, sank offshore Senegal, "the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said in a statement on Thursday.

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"This is the deadliest shipwreck in 2020", according to IOM.

Without specifying the number of passengers, the Senegalese authorities had announced a death toll of at least 10, for about sixty people rescued.

"The local communities told us that there were around 200 on board, so that makes 140 missing," an IOM spokesperson in Dakar told AFP.

- Fire on board -

Between October 7 and 25, the Senegalese navy, supported by the Spanish Guardia Civil, intercepted five canoes bound for Europe, rescuing a total of 388 people, according to the Senegalese government, which state of "28 presumed conveyors" arrested.

One of these canoes was seriously damaged when a fire broke out on board on October 23 off Mbour, more than 80 km south-east of Dakar, caused by "an explosion of the engine and fuel drums on board ", according to the government.

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The IOM version is slightly different. Members of local communities told him that the boat left Mbour on October 24, and not on October 23, and that it was off Saint-Louis, the last Senegalese town before Mauritania, that the fire occurred. a few hours later and the boat capsized.

The Senegalese gendarmerie, for its part, indicated on Thursday that "six unidentified bodies" had been "caught in the nets of a fishing boat off Dakar" on Wednesday evening, without knowing whether it was are victims of this accident.

According to IOM information, the boat intended to reach the Spanish Canary Islands archipelago, off Morocco, the gateway to the European Union.

- More than 400 dead -

The organization emphasizes that "the number of departures from the coasts of West Africa to the Canaries has increased significantly in recent weeks".

According to information collected locally by the IOM, in September alone, "14 boats carrying 663 migrants" left Senegal to reach the Spanish archipelago.

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Irregular migration from Africa to Europe attracted much attention in the wake of dramatic events in 2005 around the Spanish cities of Ceuta and Melilla on the Moroccan coast and, more recently around Lampedusa, a tiny Italian island in the Mediterranean off the coast of Tunisia.

About a quarter of these boats, often motor canoes, have suffered damage or sinking, according to the IOM.

It estimates the number of migrant arrivals to the Canaries this year at around 11,000, compared to 2,557 over the same period last year, far from the peak of over 32,000 recorded in 2006.

With the probable death of the 140 castaways , the death toll on this sea route stands at 414, according to IOM surveys, against 210 over the whole of 2019.

- Appeal to the populations -

Alarmed by this "upsurge" of attempts of illegal immigration and its share of victims and emotion in the country, Senegalese President Macky Sall launched Tuesday "an appeal to the populations to be more vigilant and to collaboration with the defense and security forces to preserve the life of young people tempted by emigration ".

Las, a new canoe from Senegal was wrecked Thursday off Mauritania, according to a hospital source in Nouadhibou, a coastal town in northwest Mauritania, and a Mauritanian security source.

"The Mauritanian coast guard on Thursday rescued 24 illegal migrants in the sinking of a canoe which was heading for the Canary Islands, while 36 lost their lives," said this hospital source who requested anonymity.

Their bodies were not found, however, but the canoe had 60 people on board, according to the same source. The search continued early Thursday evening to find survivors, said a security source.

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