Senegal intercepts migrant boat to Spain

Senegal’s navy announced on Thursday that it has intercepted a boat carrying approximately 70 migrants who were embarking on the dangerous journey by using the Atlantic route to Spain.

This marks the third reported crossing this week, highlighting an increase in attempts from West Africa during the summer months when conditions are more favorable.

Late on Wednesday night, a vessel was intercepted at the mouth of the Senegal River, where it meets the Atlantic Ocean in northern Senegal. The authorities apprehended all 71 passengers, which included two women, and handed them over to the police.

The Atlantic route to the Canary Islands, typically used by sub-Saharan African migrants trying to reach Spain, is one of the world’s deadliest. Summer is its busiest period.

The navy reported the interception of a boat carrying 35 individuals attempting to make the crossing on Monday.

According to the state news agency’s report on Wednesday, a tragic incident occurred as a vessel carrying approximately 60 individuals capsized at the mouth of the Senegal River near the city of Saint Louis, resulting in six fatalities.

Contrary to earlier reports, the authorities on Tuesday refuted claims of missing boats carrying over 300 individuals from Senegal to Spain. They clarified that 260 Senegalese nationals were actually rescued in Moroccan waters between June 28 and July 9.

Despite a recent surge, the total count of irregular migrants arriving at the Canary Islands remains lower this year compared to 2022.

According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the year 2022 saw a tragic loss of life as at least 559 individuals perished in their attempts to reach the Canary Islands. Disturbingly, the first half of this year has already witnessed the deaths or disappearances of 126 individuals along the same route, accompanied by 15 recorded shipwrecks.

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