Moroccan navy rescues 141 African migrants en route to Canary Islands

Credit: REUTERS/DARRIN ZAMMIT LUPI

RABAT, Feb 18 (Reuters) - The Moroccan navyy said it had rescued 141 African migrants on Sunday aboard a boat in distress sailing from Mauritania en route to the Canary Islands.

The migrants, including three women and two children, left the Mauritanian coast on Feb. 10, the navy said.

The number of migrants boarding rickety boats from West Africa and reaching Spain's Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean has risen seven-fold so far this year from the same period of 2023, Spanish Interior Ministry data shows.

Mauritania has recently become a major point of departure for migrants headed to Europe, sending eight out of 10 of the dinghies that reached the archipelago in January, Spanish officials say.

The Moroccan navy rescued 16,818 people at sea in 2023, up 35% compared to a year earlier, according to official figures.

(Reporting by Ahmed Eljechtimi; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

((ahmed.eljechtimi@thomsonreuters.com;))

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