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New interception of Senegalese migrants on the Moroccan coast

New interception of Senegalese migrants on the Moroccan coast
File photo from 22 December 2020: Smugglers hoist a fishing boat onto a ...   -  
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Mosa'ab Elshamy/Copyright 2020 The AP. All rights reserved.


A Moroccan coastal surveillance unit intercepted a boat carrying 130 Senegalese illegal migrants on Saturday when it ran aground off Dakhla in Western Sahara, a Moroccan military source said on Sunday.

This operation brings to at least 253 the would-be irregular migrants from sub-Saharan Africa who have landed on the Moroccan coast since 8 August, according to an AFP report compiled from Moroccan military sources.

Members of "a coastal surveillance unit intercepted a pirogue on Saturday off the coast of the town of Dakhla, which had run aground with 130 Senegalese would-be irregular migrants on board, including one woman", the source was quoted as saying by the Moroccan news agency MAP.

The Moroccan news agency MAP quoted the source: "This pirogue set sail from the locality of Fass Boye, near Thiès, in Senegal, with the intention of reaching the Canary Islands" in Spain.

On Friday, nearly 70 sub-Saharan migrants were rescued by the Moroccan navy when their boat was in difficulty off Tarfaya (southern Morocco).

The migrants, including a woman and three minors, were taken back to Laâyoune, a port in Western Sahara.

On 8 August, the Moroccan coastguard had already intercepted 56 would-be illegal immigrants off Tan-tan in southern Morocco.

The day before, five Senegalese corpses had been recovered off Guerguerat (Western Sahara), while the Moroccan navy had rescued 189 other migrants whose boat had capsized.

Migrants are generally repatriated to Senegal.

According to local Senegalese authorities, at least 13 Senegalese died in mid-July when their pirogue sank off the Moroccan coast.

The Canary migratory route, the gateway to Europe in the Atlantic Ocean, has seen a marked increase in activity in recent weeks, particularly from the coasts of Morocco and the Western Sahara.

NGOs regularly report fatal shipwrecks - unofficial figures put the death toll at dozens, if not hundreds - in Moroccan, Spanish and international waters.

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