Morocco intercepts boat with 141 African migrants

Since the year’s beginning, there has been a surge in migration from West Africa to Spain’s Canary Islands, and the Moroccan navy said that it had stopped 141 individuals trying to cross the Atlantic.

In a statement released on Sunday, Morocco’s Royal Armed Forces said that they had successfully rescued every person on a boat off the coast of the Western Sahara, a disputed region that Morocco has ruled over since 1975.

According to the report, all 141 of the passengers were from sub-Saharan Africa, and they had probably left Mauritania, Morocco’s southern neighbor and the main entry point for migrants trying to reach Spain’s Canary Islands, more than a week ago.

This year’s largest interception recorded by Moroccan officials was this one.

The Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime states that although the Canary Islands are about 62 miles (100 kilometers) from Morocco’s Atlantic coast, pirogues—the wooden boats that migrants frequently use to cross—often launch from as far south as the Gambia, from where the trip can take up to 10 days.

11,704 migrants had landed in the Canaries as of February 15, according to Spain’s Interior Ministry, more than a six-fold rise from the same period last year. Most of them have left Mauritania, which just agreed to pay for humanitarian aid and migratory patrols in exchange for 210 million euros from the European Union.

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