Illegal migrants continue to flood Spain

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A boat from Africa carrying 62 people landed on the Canary Island of Tenerfie on Thursday.

10 April 2008

SANTA CRUZ DE TENERIFE - The influx of undocumented immigrants from Africa to Spain continued on Thursday, with a boat carrying 62 people landing on the Canary Island of Tenerife.

The Africans, 15 of whom appeared to be minors, were reported to be in good health.

Seventy-two Indians meanwhile spent the night outside to avoid being sent back to their country from the Spanish enclave of Ceuta on the Moroccan coast.

The Indians, who had been in Ceuta for more than a year, had fled from a reception centre for immigrants. The local Hindu community had held talks with officials on their behalf, but the authorities said there was no justification for allowing them to stay in Spain.

Algerian rescuers meanwhile retrieved 13 bodies of would-be immigrants, whose vessel had shipwrecked off Oran. It was the largest number of people known to have died in Algeria in similar circumstances, according to the Spanish daily El Pais, which quoted Algerian press reports.

Moroccan police said on Wednesday that they had arrested more than 1,000 would-be immigrants in northern Nador province so far this year, including 399 Algerians and 697 Africans from south of the Sahara.

Spanish police detained nearly 20,000 migrants who had come in by boat in 2007. Increased frontier controls and repatriations helped to reduce the number by half from 2006, but have been unable to stop the influx.

Migrants crossing over from Africa to Spain are usually Africans, but also include occasional groups of Asians.

More than 900 people died in 2007 in attempts to reach Spain by sea, according to the southern Spanish human rights group Asociacion Pro Derechos Humanos Andalucia.

[dpa / Spain]

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