Algerian authorities said they have foiled 42 departures towards European countries in five days, apprehending a total of 485 migrants. Officials also said they recovered the bodies of 10 people who died while attempting the crossing from North Africa to Europe.
Algerian authorities said they have foiled 42 departures towards European countries in five days between September 15-19. Coast guards apprehended a total of 485 people and recovered the bodies of 10 migrants whose boat had capsized in the open sea, according to a statement on September 21 by the Algerian defense ministry, quoted by online news outlet tsa-algerie.com.
Operations on September 15-19
The defense ministry's statement said that ''as part of efforts by our naval forces to end the phenomenon of illegal emigration, coast guard units intercepted and rescued 485 people during 42 separate operations conducted in our territorial waters between September 15 and 19."
The statement said that the 485 had attempted the crossing illegally. It added that "10 bodies of irregular migrants whose boat had capsized were retrieved."
''In detail, 255 irregular migrants were intercepted during 22 operations carried out in the country's west while 227 others were intercepted during 19 operations carried out on the eastern coast." Three people were further apprehended along the central maritime coast, the same source added.
Six land in Sardinia from Algeria, including one-year-old
Italian security officials in the night between September 20 and 21 apprehended six people -- four men, a woman and her one-year-old son -- while they were walking away from the beach of Domus De Maria, in southern Sardinia, which they had reached aboard a small boat that had departed from Algeria.
The migrants, who appeared to be in good health, were transferred overnight to a center in Monastir to be identified and for a medical checkup.
They will be quarantined inside the facility as part of measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Algeria, Africa's largest nation and home to 43 million people, is currently battling high unemployment and political instability. The drop in oil prices and restrictions to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus have hit its economy hard, news agency AFP reports.
According to the European Union border protection agency Frontex, 6,090 Algerians crossed the Mediterranean during the first eight months of 2020. However, some say the figure is likely to be higher.
Algeria passed a law in 2009 aimed at "combating illegal emigration", with jail sentences of up to six months, but it has not stopped departures.
The driving factors are many but include high unemployment rates, hopes of a better life and dreams of freedom.