Morocco on Wednesday started flying home hundreds of Malians, part of stepped-up efforts by the north African kingdom to stem the flow of illegal immigrants seeking to reach Europe. Another flight was planned for Wednesday night and three more on Thursday.
The first of five flights that will carry a total of 606 Malians took off from Oujda in northeastern Morocco, bound for Mali's capital, Bamako, the official Moroccan MAP news agency reported. The Royal Air Maroc Boeing 737 had 140 Malians aboard, it said.
Morocco also deported a total of 549 Senegalese on four flights from Oujda on Monday and Tuesday, the agency said.
The Africans were all picked up after attempting to rush razor-wire fences around the Spanish enclaves of Melilla and Ceuta on the northern Moroccan coast, and in sweeps elsewhere in Morocco, the AP reports.
The United States has imposed new sanctions against the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project, which still remains under construction