Spain sees new wave of would-be illegal immigrants

1st October 2010, Comments 0 comments

Spanish authorities detained more than 170 Africans who attempted to reach southern Spain in small boats overnight in a sudden new wave of would-be illegal immigrants, they said Friday.

The maritime rescue service said it intercepted a boat carrying 55 migrants from sub-Saharan Africa off the town of Motril, and three other boats off Almeria with a total of 59 people on board.

A further four boats carrying 58 Algerians were found off Murcia, authorities in the town said.

The interceptions come two week after the detention of 152 would-be illegal immigrants aboard eight boats off southern Spain.

Spain has been a magnet in recent years for African migrants aspiring to reach Europe. Authorities fear many of those who attempt the crossing by sea die of thirst, hunger or exposure.

But the number arriving by sea last year fell by 25 percent in 2008 and by 45 percent last year, according to the government.

It attributed the fall to the economic crisis in Spain as well as better policing of the waters around the country and cooperation with the immigrants' countries of origin in sub-Saharan Africa.

© 2010 AFP

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