At least 13 Senegalese migrants died when their boat capsized off the coast of Morocco late last week, an official told media on Thursday.
The news comes at a time of increased focus on the Atlantic migration route, stretching from the coast of West Africa to the Spanish Canary Islands, as numerous boats have sunk or gone missing in that region in recent weeks.
Oumar Cisse, the mayor of Rufisque, located near Senegal’s capital Dakar, informed media that 13 residents of the town had tragically lost their lives.
“They were in a 63-person pirogue that capsized,” he stated, referring to the long wooden fishing boats frequently utilized for irregular migrant crossings.
“The survivors are being looked after in the municipality of Dakhla”, in Morocco, he added.
Senegal’s President Macky Sall “paid tribute to the memory of those who died in the recent accidents at sea,” as stated in a government release late on Thursday.
On Tuesday, Morocco’s navy reported that it had “rescued” almost 900 irregular migrants, with 400 of them being in its territorial waters, during a one-week period this month.
Eight days ago a pirogue capsized off the Senegalese city of Saint-Louis, near the border with Mauritania, resulting in the loss of at least 14 lives.
NGOs frequently document fatal shipwrecks in Moroccan, Spanish, and international waters, with unofficial estimates suggesting that the death toll could reach dozens, if not hundreds.