Spanish police intercept two boats carrying African migrants

Spanish police intercepted two boats, each carrying some 40 African migrants, in two separate incidents Tuesday, authorities said.

One boat, an open, wooden fishing vessel, was spotted about 5 miles (8 kilometers) off the southern coast of Tenerife, one of the Canary Islands which thousands of sub-Saharan Africans have tried to reach in recent months.

The immigrants were taken to the port of Los Cristianos, on the south of the island.

The second boat found Tuesday was carrying migrants from northern Africa. It was discovered near Mediterranean island of Alboran, off the southern coast of mainland Spain. Six had to be flown to the city of Almeria on Spain's mainland for medical treatment for bruises suffered in their journey to try to reach Spain.

After being fed and treated by medical personnel, the would-be immigrants are normally questioned by police so that they can be repatriated.

Last week, Spain's Interior Ministry warned that the country should brace itself for a major increase in illegal migrations from Africa in the coming months.

Thousands of people try to reach Europe through Spain each year, an increasing number of them coming from Mauritania and Moroccan-controlled Western Sahara. Mauritania's Red Crescent says more than 1,000 people have died trying to reach Spain since the beginning of the year.

For decades, immigrant boats have set out from Morocco, sailing north across the Strait of Gibraltar to the Spanish mainland or westwards to the Canary Islands, one of Europe's most popular tourist destinations, off the coast of northwest Africa, reports the AP.


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