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More Bodies Found from Migrant Boat Sinking off Morocco Coast

More Bodies Found from Migrant Boat Sinking off Morocco Coast

Monday, 30 September, 2019 - 18:00
Migrants on an overcrowded wooden boat wait to be rescued in the Mediterranean Sea. (AP file photo)

Five bodies were retrieved from Morocco’s Atlantic coast near Casablanca on Monday, bringing to 12 the number of migrants killed when their boat capsized on Saturday, the state news agency reported.

On Saturday, authorities said seven Moroccan citizens had died and three were taken to hospital unconscious, reflecting a growing trend in illegal migration to Spain along the Atlantic coast after a crackdown on routes across the Mediterranean.

According to State-run agency MAP, some of the bodies were identified by relatives.

An investigation has been opened to determine the cause of the accident and search operations continue.

Morocco is located only 14 km (8.5 miles) south of Spain across the Strait of Gibraltar, and it shares land borders with the small Spanish enclaves of Melilla and Ceuta.

Moroccan authorities say they stopped 57,000 migrants illegally crossing to Spain during the first eight months of this year.

Figures released by the International Organization for Migration show arrivals to Spain by sea more than halved from January 1 to September 18 from the previous year to 16,894.

Spain last month approved 32.2 million euros ($35.2 million) in aid to Morocco to combat illegal migration. The European Union has also promised 140 million euros in border management aid.

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