The Moroccan navy has recovered the bodies of five Senegalese migrants and successfully rescued 189 others after their boat tragically capsized off the coast of Western Sahara, as reported by Morocco’s official news agency Map on Monday.
According to an unidentified military official, the incident occurred on Saturday off Guerguerat, a village located in the south of Western Sahara near the border with Mauritania. It is believed that the migrants were attempting a perilous journey to reach Spain’s Canary Islands.
In addition to those rescued, 11 other migrants were found to be in a critical condition and were swiftly taken to Hassan II Hospital in the city of Dakhla in Western Sahara. The rescued individuals were transferred to Dakhla on Sunday and placed under the care of Moroccan authorities.
This tragedy forms part of a broader crisis in the region. In a separate incident, officials announced on Monday that 16 migrants had died in shipwrecks off the coasts of Tunisia and Western Sahara. Local court spokesman Faouzi Masmoudi reported that at least 11 migrants died off the coast of Tunisia’s second city, Sfax, with an additional 44 reported missing. Two survivors were rescued from the boat, which had 57 people on board, all hailing from sub-Saharan African countries.
The first six months of 2023 have seen nearly 1,000 migrants perish while attempting to reach Spain by sea, according to Spanish migrant rights group Caminando Fronteras (Walking Borders). Most of these attempts have been made from Senegal or Morocco.
These tragic incidents highlight the ongoing migration crisis in the region and the immense risks that desperate individuals are willing to take for a chance at a better life. As European countries grapple with the political and humanitarian challenges of migration, the loss of life in the Mediterranean continues to be a stark and urgent reminder of the human cost of this complex issue.
Image Credit: Alexander Schimmeck on Unsplash