Senegal repatriated some 50 of its nationals intercepted in recent weeks in Morocco, trying to emigrate to Europe. The group was repatriated from Dakhla, Western Sahara.
A total of 450 Senegalese migrants have been apprehended in Morocco in recent weeks.
The Senegalese Minister of Foreign Affairs said the repatriated migrants were brought back due to health reasons.
“We were able to bring back with us about 50 migrants whose health, of course, requires evacuation by air. So the 19 who were hospitalized. We left one more in the hospital, which is still quite ill,” said Annette Seck, Senegal’s Minister of Foreign Affairs.
The remaining almost 430 migrants were to be brought back home by bus from Morocco in the coming days. Some of the arrivals were visibly in poor condition, walking on crutches or supporting each other.
The Senegalese government says that 260 Senegalese “in distress were rescued in Moroccan territorial waters” between June 28 and July 9. On Wednesday, eight people died off Saint-Louis, Senegal’s northernmost town, when their pirogue overturned.
Crossing to the Canaries is the most perilous of all the routes that African migrants take in their bid to reach Europe.
It entails days of sailing across treacherous currents in motorized open canoes known as pirogues, which are usually unseaworthy, overladen and lack water.