More than 60 migrants are presumed to have lost their lives aboard a canoe that left the Senegalese coast in early July and was found off Cape Verde on Monday, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) announced on Wednesday August 16 the presumed death of more than 60 migrants who were traveling aboard a canoe that left the Senegalese coast in early July and was found on Monday off Cape Verde.
The number of dead is estimated at 63, with 38 survivors, including four children aged 12 to 16, IOM spokeswoman Safa Msehli told AFP.
The craft was spotted Monday in the Atlantic, about 150 nautical miles (277 km) from the Cape Verdean island of Sal, by a Spanish fishing vessel which alerted Cape Verdean authorities, police said of the archipelago, about six hundred kilometers from the Senegalese coast.
Apart from the 38 survivors, the rescuers found the remains of seven people, reported the spokesperson.
According to the testimonies of the survivors quoted by the Senegalese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other sources, the boat had left the locality of Fass Boye, on the Senegalese coast (about 100 km north of Dakar), on July 10 with 101 passengers. on board, all Senegalese, with the exception of a Bissau-Guinean.
56 people are missing. “Generally, when people are reported missing following a shipwreck, they are presumed dead,” said the spokesperson.
The authorities have so far refrained from commenting on what happened after the departure of the canoe on July 10.
But “the missing are all dead”, corroborated with AFP Abdou Karim Sarr, an official of the Local Artisanal Fishing Councils (CLPA), a professional organization.
“Despair and total calm”
It’s “sadness, consternation, despair and total calm”, local elected representative of Fass Boye, Moda Samb, told AFP.
According to this elected official, 98% of the occupants of the canoe are from Fass Boye: “They were born and grew up” in this locality of fishermen.
“One of the survivors who spoke to his father on the phone told him that the others (missing) are dead,” he said. “Others (families) are waiting to find out if their children are among the survivors.”
Cape Verde is on the maritime migratory route taken each year by thousands of Africans fleeing poverty or war for Europe, or hoping for a better life, despite the dangerousness of the journey which costs the lives of hundreds of ‘between them.
They travel aboard modest boats or motorized canoes provided by smugglers who pay for the trip. Many land in the Canary Islands, the Spanish archipelago and gateway to Europe.
Many testimonies report the perils of the trip, subject to weather hazards, engine damage, thirst and hunger.
Cape Verdean authorities said they had mobilized all necessary means to assist the passengers, seven of whom were hospitalized after disembarking on the island of Sal on Tuesday.
National Strategy to Combat Irregular Migration
The Senegalese Ministry of Foreign Affairs assured work for the repatriation of its nationals “as soon as possible”.
About 90 migrants from Senegal, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau and Sierra Leone had already been rescued in Cape Verdean waters in mid-January.
Senegal has been bereaved by several migration dramas in recent years.
Sixteen migrants perished on the night of July 23 to 24 in the sinking of their boat near Dakar. At least 13 Senegalese lost their lives a few days earlier off the Moroccan coast.
At the end of July, the Senegalese government presented a National Strategy to combat irregular migration, along different axes: prevention, border control, repression, return and reintegration of migrants.
Source: France 24