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Senegal navy searches for dozens lost after migrant boat capsizes

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The Senegalese navy carried out a search and rescue mission on Saturday after a boat carrying about 60 migrants capsized earlier in the week, according to a military statement and a local official.

The boat flipped over about 15 kilometres (nine miles) off the northern city of Saint-Louis, said the official, who asked not to be identified. The accident happened on Wednesday night, the navy statement said.

Those on board were trying to reach Spain, naval spokesman Ameth Sow told local TV.

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Senegal is a popular jumping-off point for migrants trying to make the hazardous journey to the Spanish-owned Canary Islands – a gateway to the European Union.

The navy “rescued 11 people, including eight Senegalese and three Gambians, and recovered a lifeless body,” the navy statement on Friday said.

The search is being conducted with the Spanish Guardia Civil, it said.

Senegal receives assistance from the EU for its efforts to control illegal migration.Would-be migrants often try to reach the Canary Islands by canoe.

The International Organisation for Migration reported 140 deaths in a single shipwreck off the coast of Senegal at the end of October 2020, a figure disputed by the Senegalese government.

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