Africa

44 migrants feared dead as boat capsizes off Western Sahara: NGO

Boat, carrying over 50 people, sunk off Cape Bojador on west coast of Western Sahara, according to migrant aid agency Caminando Fronteras

Faruk Zorlu   | 09.05.2022
44 migrants feared dead as boat capsizes off Western Sahara: NGO File Photo

ANKARA

Some 44 migrants are believed to have died after their boat, carrying over 50 people, sunk off Cape Bojador on the west coast of Western Sahara, according to a Spanish NGO.

"Forty-four people have died this morning in a shipwreck south of Cape Bojador," Helena Maleno Garzon, the founder of the migrant aid agency Caminando Fronteras (Walking Borders) said on Twitter on Sunday.

Seven bodies were retrieved from the sea and brought to shore, Garzon said, adding that "the rest of the victims were swallowed by the sea."

The other 12 survivors are detained under the Moroccan immigration law, she said.

The Canary Islands migration route, also known as the Western African Route, has become a key way of entering Europe irregularly, passing mainly through Morocco, Western Sahara, Mauritania, Senegal, and Gambia.

More than 4,400 people died on the route last year, according to the Walking Borders.

That makes 2021 the most deadly year on record for migrants trying to reach Spain and also makes the Canary Islands migration route one of the most treacherous on earth.

The route itself has become even more dangerous due to a remarkable increase in the number of inflatable boats.

The Walking Borders said 2021 was the year these boats came to stay. In the first six months of last year, one-third of all these voyages ended in tragedy.

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