Spain sends second group of African migrants back

Spain on Tuesday deported 60 African migrants back to Mauritania, from where they had set out in open-top fishing boats trying to reach Europe.

Authorities said the migrants, mostly from Senegal and Mali, were flown out from Fuerteventura, one of the Canary Islands, and would be housed in a new holding center at Nouadhibou in Mauritania before being repatriated.

It was the second group of migrants deported since Sunday. Fifty others returned to Mauritania on Monday.

Thousands of people try to reach Europe via Spain each year, an increasing number of them coming from Mauritania and Moroccan-controlled Western Sahara. For decades, the immigrant boats had set out from Morocco, sailing across the Strait of Gibraltar to the Spanish mainland or to the Canary Islands, off the coast of northwest Africa.

More than 3,000 migrants have reached the Canary Islands so far this year, the vast majority packed into open, wooden boats.

Mauritania's Red Crescent says more than 1,000 have died trying to make the trip since the beginning of the year.

Spanish troops helped convert an old school in Nouadhibou into a deportation center last week to help Mauritania crack down on the growing transit route to Europe. Spain has also offered Mauritania boats to patrol its coastline, reports the AP.


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