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Seven sub-Saharan migrants die trying to reach the Canary Islands

Ⓒ AFP/Archivos – Desirée Martín – | The Civil Guard spot the body of a migrant after a shipwreck on the coast of Teguise, on the Canary Island of Lanzarote, on February 16, 2009

Seven migrants from sub-Saharan Africa died when they tried to reach the island of Lanzarote, in the Spanish Canary archipelago, aboard a rubber dinghy, three of which could be minors, officials told AFP on Monday.

The forces of order, alerted by an inhabitant of the area in Lanzarote, found the inflatable boat and “inside there were five dead,” of which “three could be minors,” a spokesman for the Civil Guard told AFP. specifying that two other occupants of the vessel died soon after.

Two other immigrants were hospitalized in a “very serious” state, the spokesman said, without specifying the causes of the deaths or hospitalizations.

“Another 18 immigrants have been located on the ground” and were taken to the Civil Guard post on the very touristy Costa Teguise beach, the spokesperson said.

“They were supposed to come in this same zodiac,” which landed on the island around 12h00 GMT, he added.

A spokeswoman for the emergency services of the Canary Islands confirmed the figures of seven dead, two injured and another eighteen people found.

According to this spokeswoman, the vessel was “about twenty meters from the coast” when it was identified.

The authorities did not disclose details, such as the sex or age of the migrants.

The Canary Islands, a Spanish archipelago a hundred kilometers from the Moroccan coasts in the Atlantic Ocean, were in the mid-2000s one of the main routes of illegal immigration to the European Union (EU).

Currently, African migrants use the Mediterranean to a greater extent to reach Spain or Italy in precarious vessels.

In the first ten days of 2018, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) counted 285 migrants who arrived in Spain through the Mediterranean and 16 died during the crossing. During 2017, more than 21,000 immigrants arrived in Spain by sea, while 223 died in the attempt.

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