African migrant gives birth on way to Spain

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A Nigerian woman gave birth in an inflatable boat transporting 37 other would-be African migrants to Spain, including six pregnant women, police and emergency services officials said Monday.

Maritime rescue services spotted the boat near the island of Alboran off the coast of Motril in southern Spain on Sunday shortly after the 28-year-old woman gave birth to the girl.

The migrants were taken to the port of Motril where the woman and the newborn, who she named Happiness, were taken to hospital, said Luisa Ferriz, the Red Cross nurse who looked after the two.

"The mother was tired, a little shaky," Ferriz told the online edition of daily newspaper El Pais.

A Guardia Civil policeman, Carlos Puche, said he held the baby close to his body on the boat trip to keep her warm because the mother was too weak to do so herself.

"At the beginning she was quiet, she would not move, she was very cold but as she warmed up she started to move and cry," he told public television TVE.

The boat carrying the migrants had left from Morocco. Most of the migrants were from Nigeria, Ghana and Cameroon.

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.

© 2010 AFP

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