RABAT, Nov 6, 2012 (AFP) -
RABAT, Nov 6, 2012 (AFP) –
More than 90 illegal sub-Saharan migrants have died attempting to reach Spain from Morocco in the past two weeks, a Moroccan security source and members of the African immigrant community said on Wednesday.
“According to the testimonies of six survivors who managed to reach Spain,54 people on the same boat drowned last week,” said Pierre Duladrang,president of the sub-Saharan immigrant community in Morocco.
Another 19 sub-Saharans were confirmed to have died off the coast of Tangier, Morocco’s northern port city, just 14 kilometres (eight miles) from Spain, in the past fortnight, he added.
“Yesterday (Tuesday) three bodies were recovered from a beach near Tangier, bringing the number of dead there to 19, including women and children,” Duladrang said, adding that two more who attempted the sea crossing were still missing.
A Senegalese in Tangier contacted by AFP, who identified himself only as Osman, gave the same toll of 54 from last week’s boat tragedy and 19 dead off Tangier.
A Moroccan security source said the body of a sub-Saharan migrant was found on the coast at Nador on Tuesday, near Spain’s north African enclave of Melilla, after the body of a man and his young son were found in the same area last week.
The casualty figure of 76 raise the number of African migrants confirmed to have drowned in the waters between Morocco and Spain in the past two weeks to 92.
On October 26, the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha, two Africans died and lifeguards rescued about 50 trying to reach Spain by boat from Morocco, a day after 14 others were pulled dead from the water, according to Spanish emergency services.
They are the most recent victims in a steady wave of migrants attempting to reach Spanish soil from Morocco, many of them in makeshift rafts, that has swelled in recent weeks.
The Moroccan authorities have saved around 6,500 illegal migrants from death at sea in the past five years, according to the official MAP news agency.