Published: Fri, December 06, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

58 asylum seekers drown off coast of Africa

58 asylum seekers drown off coast of Africa

A vessel carrying 150 migrants from the Gambia capsized off Mauritania Coast on Wednesday killing at least 58 in the incident said the UN Migration Agency.

This incident is one of the deadliest since attempts became scarcer when Spain stepped up patrols in the mid-2000s.

Survivors are being helped by the Mauritanian authorities in the northern city of Nouadhibou, said the IOM.

The IOM said a further 83 migrants who were on board swam to shore.

As Euro Weekly News understands, the makeshift boat, which was on its way to the Canary Islands, sank about 25 kilometres off the Mauritanian coast as it tried to approach the country for food and fuel.

The Gambia's government said on Thursday that the migrants had embarked at Barra, a town in the north of the country.

Local authorities continued to search for an unknown number of missing people.

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Members of the local bear patrol said they spotted 56 bears in a one-kilometre area near the shore. Children are driven to school and kindergarten and back home in buses.

In recent years, tens of thousands of people have set off from Gambia in hopes of reaching Europe.

Dia Alpha Sonoko, a Senegalese man who survived the sinking, told Mauritanian TV that smugglers had abandoned the migrants at sea. the financial cost of this attempted illegal migration was approximately 760 euros per person. "It's been confirmed that women and children were on that boat and some of them lost their lives".

Although West Africa has some of the continent's fastest-growing economies, the region is struggling to generate enough jobs for its mushrooming young population.

"We were hopeful that they were going to succeed".

The survivors were receiving care in accordance with "human solidarity, fraternity and African hospitality", Interior Minister Mohamed Salem Ould Merzoug said in a statement that estimated the boat held as many as 180 people, majority aged 20 to 30.

A doctor from the United Nations migration agency was arriving in Nouakchott Thursday to support local medical efforts and the agency is providing first aid kits, blankets and other supplies, United Nations spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

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