Sharp drop in Africans trying to reach Spain

23rd August 2007, Comments 0 comments

23 August 2007, MADRID - Increased patrols off the west coast of Africa have sharply reduced the number of Africans trying to reach Spain illegally by boat, Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba said Thursday.

23 August 2007

MADRID - Increased patrols off the west coast of Africa have sharply reduced the number of Africans trying to reach Spain illegally by boat, Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba said Thursday.

Rubalcaba said that, so far this year, 8,000 migrants have tried to reach Spain, compared to 24,000 last year.

"The security system on the African coast, off Senegal and Mauritania, is working," the minister told Cadena SER radio.

Many migrants seeking a better life in Europe try to reach Spain by sailing in simple wooden fishing boats from West Africa to the Canary Islands, just off the coast of Morocco.

Spanish authorities estimate that more than 30,000 immigrants were caught trying to reach the islands in 2007.

The trip often takes more than a week. Many die in the attempt.

Over the past year, Spain, with the help of the European Union, has begun patrols off the west coast of Africa. Spain has also agreed to cooperate with Senegal, Mauritania and other countries in the region.

The Interior Ministry said Spain had repatriated about 8,000 migrants so far this year. It said that on Tuesday alone the government repatriated 409 people to Morocco and Senegal.

[Copyright AP with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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