About 40 Senegalese migrants were rescued on Monday aboard a canoe off Cape Verde, but several others died, Cape Verdean and Senegalese authorities said on Tuesday.
The fate of dozens more is unknown, with Cape Verdean police and Senegalese Foreign Affairs reporting on testimonies that there were around 100 occupiers departing from Senegal.
Thirty-eight people, including a Bissau-Guinean, were rescued off Cape Verde aboard a canoe carrying Senegalese nationals, the Senegalese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement released on Tuesday evening and confirming information in from Cape Verde.
According to the testimonies of the survivors, the boat left the locality of Fass Boye (west), on the Senegalese coast, on July 10 "with 101 passengers on board", said the ministry, without further information.
Previously, various Cape Verdean officials had reported about forty survivors and several dead people found in the boat. Cape Verdean police, in a statement posted on their Facebook page, reported information gathered at the time of the rescue on Monday that around 100 passengers had departed on the West African coast.
The boat was spotted about 150 nautical miles (277 km) from the Cape Verdean island of Sal on Monday by a Spanish fishing vessel which alerted Cape Verdean authorities, police said.
A health services official in Sal, Jose Rui Moreira, reported 38 survivors, seven of whom required hospitalization. The forensic institute said it had received the remains of seven people.
All the competent services have been activated to assist the survivors, the police said.
"We must open our arms and welcome the living and bury the dead with dignity," said Health Minister Filomena Goncalves, quoted by the Inforpress news agency.
The Senegalese ministry, "in conjunction with the competent Cape Verdean authorities, has made the necessary arrangements for (the) repatriation (of Senegalese nationals) as soon as possible", he said.
About 90 migrants from Senegal, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, and Sierra Leone had already been rescued in Cape Verdean waters in mid-January.
An Atlantic archipelago located a few hundred kilometers from the West African coast, Cape Verde is on the maritime migratory route taken each year by thousands of Africans fleeing poverty or war for Europe, despite the dangerousness of the journey which cost the lives of hundreds of them.
They travel aboard modest boats or motorized canoes provided by smugglers who pay for the trip. Many land in the Canary Islands, the Spanish archipelago, and gateway to Europe.