Senegal: over 100 migrants intercepted off coast as EU spends millions to curb illegal migration

Senegal: over 100 migrants intercepted off coast as EU spends millions to curb illegal migration

A Senegalese patrol boat stopped the journey of 118 irregular migrants off the country’s coast earlier this week, as European countries are stepping up efforts to intercept migrants long before they get near their own shorelines, and Senegal, which restricts migration by boat, is part of the effort.

The detention of the 118 would-be migrants was the latest in a series of interceptions of pirogues trying to cross the Atlantic to reach the Spanish archipelago of the Canaries, the Senegalese armed forces’ information department said. The French Navy has reported several operations off the cost of Saint-Louis to board pirogues, rescue or take charge of illegal migrants since 23 August, with Dakar announcing the interception of more than 1,000 would-be emigrants.

Every year, thousands of Senegalese try to flee a country undermined by inflation and the scarcity of fish at sea. Hoping for a better life, they try to reach Europe via the Atlantic, despite the dangerous nature of the journey, which kills hundreds of them.

This summer, attempts to cross the Atlantic from Senegal have seen renewed interest after at least 300 migrants in three boats disappeared in July on the way to the Canary Islands. Illegal migrants also depart from the Moroccan coast, closer to the Canary Islands, which is however more closely monitored by the country’s coastguards. As part of EU’s efforts to curb illegal migration from Africa, in early August, Senegal inaugurated a new headquarters for its air and border police — part of a nine million euro effort with Spain and France to help stop illegal migration. Other resources from Europe have already arrived, including training and high-tech equipment for the Senegalese border police. Dakar has yet to decide whether to accept a 2022 proposal from the European Commission to deploy Frontex, the EU border control agency that would flood the area with more resources to combat illegal migration.

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