Spanish rescuers on Wednesday temporarily suspended searches for migrant boats missing off the Canary Islands due to weather conditions. According to an NGO, three boats and around 300 people from Senegal are wanted. Information denied by the Senegalese authorities.
According to Caminando Fronteras, an NGO which refers to immigration from the African coasts bound for the Spanish archipelago of the Canaries, three boats that left Senegal and transported a total of more than 300 people are still missing, reports our correspondent, François Musseau.
Little information is currently available, as Spanish rescuers have temporarily suspended the search due to very difficult weather conditions which prevent the dispatch of a plane to fly over this part of the Atlantic. The Spanish authorities say they are ready to carry out these flights at any time to try to locate these migrants.
The maritime area off the islands of Fuerteventura or Gran Canaria being immense, aerial overflight is the only solution for this kind of maneuver which is generally done with the complicity of merchant ships.
On Monday, Spanish rescuers rescued a drifting boat off the Canary Islands carrying 78 migrants. But according to the NGO Caminando Fronteras, this boat was not among the wanted boats.
For its part, Senegal was confused on Tuesday about the fate of these migrants. In a press release, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs assured that “the reports of the disappearance at sea of 300 Senegalese (were) unfounded”. And to add that between June 28th and July 9th, “260 Senegalese were rescued by the Moroccan coast guards”.
This Wednesday, the NGO persists and affirms that the people found during the rescues mentioned by the Senegalese authorities do not correspond to the 300 missing. It relies in particular on the data transmitted to it by the Spanish, Moroccan, and Mauritanian coast guards. Caminando Fronteras also continues to receive calls from families of missing persons.
In its press release, the NGO refuses to comment on the statement by the Senegalese authorities. “Common political practices in these situations,” she writes. Caminando Fronteras nevertheless asks that the search be intensified to find the missing persons, a large number of whom are children.