Senegal halts flights repatriating illegal migrants
14 September 2006, MADRID — Senegal stopped two flights containing illegal immigrants who were being repatriated from Spain, it was reported on Thursday.
14 September 2006
MADRID — Senegal stopped two flights containing illegal immigrants who were being repatriated from Spain, it was reported on Thursday.
Senegal was reported to have cited 'technical reasons' for holding up the flights, containing about 100 migrants to Senegal from the Canary Islands.
The Spanish daily El Pais said the flights may take off later on Thursday, bound for Port Louis in northern Senegal, rather than Dakar, the Senegalese capital.
A previous repatriation deal between Madrid and Dakar collapsed in May after the Senegalese government said its nationals were not being treated humanely.
Spain denied the allegations.
More than 20,000 migrants have arrived on the islands this year.
The Canary Islands is now the main point of entry for illegal migrants trying to reach Europe, after a crackdown on migration to the north African Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla last year.
The recent surge prompted the head of the Canary Islands' government to call the influx Spain's worst humanitarian crisis since the civil war of the 1930s.
Frontex, the EU borders agency, launched an operation last month to turn back small boats carrying migrants from Senegal, Cape Verde and Mauritania to the Canary Islands.
But Spain says the operation is not big enough and took too long to get going.
Up to 3,000 migrants are thought to have died trying to reach the Canarys.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news