A group of Moroccans cross the Straits of Gibraltar on an inflatable boat in 2018 | Photo: Reuters / Jon Nazca
A group of Moroccans cross the Straits of Gibraltar on an inflatable boat in 2018 | Photo: Reuters / Jon Nazca

Morroco's coastguard said that it intercepted 231 migrants at sea earlier in the week. They were reportedly all coming from sub-Saharan Africa.

The Agence France-Presse (AFP) news agency quoted Morocco’s official MAP news agency as saying that the migrants traveling in kayaks and other small boats had been intercepted and taken to safety on Tuesday.

Some had to be given first aid, according to military sources that were cited in the original report.

Morocco has repeatedly intercepted irregular migrants headed for Europe in recent months.

At the gateway to Europe

Morocco has become one of the key transit countries for migrants attempting to reach Europe. The country is separated by only 15 kilometers of ocean from Spain in the Strait of Gibraltar. Morocco also envelops the Spanish North African enclaves of Melilla and Ceuta, which have also seen a lot of irregular migration. 


The number of migrants trying to reach Spanish soil from Morocco has been on the rise after a momentary lull during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic earlier in the year, with a recent spike in arrivals on the Canary Islands as well.

Sea journeys still preferred method of irregular migration

Most migrants, however, come to Morocco to travel further east to Algeria, Tunisia and finally to Libya to embark on perilous sea journeys to Europe across the Mediterranean from there.

The EU and European border countries such as Italy fund several controversial projects in North Africa to strengthen security forces tasked with keeping migrants from reaching European shores.

Read more: French priest to receive peace award for helping migrants in Morocco

with AFP

 

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