• October 31, 2020

10 Africans Migrants Drowned, 485 Stopped from Crossing from Algeria to Europe

Bodies of 10 people drowned while seeking to cross from the North African nation to Europe were collected in Algeria recently, according to the coast guard officers’ report.

The Algerian Defence Ministry said coast guard patrols picked up the migrants during 42 separate operations between September 15 and 19.

485 migrants in desperate attempts to cross to Europe were stopped in their tracks.

Meanwhile, the drop in oil prices and restrictions to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus have hit its economy hard the 43 million-peopled nation of North Africa hard.

6,090 Algerians crossed the Mediterranean during the first eight months of 2020, according to the European Union border protection agency Frontex. Some even say the figure is likely to be higher.

Spanish media reported that during the last weekend of July, more than 800 Algerians arrived by sea.

In Algeria, the migrants are sometimes dubbed “harragas” — or, those who “burn” their identity papers, to avoid being repatriated on arrival.

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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.

Thousands regularly risk the dangerous crossing crammed onto small boats heading north across the Mediterranean Sea to reach Europe.

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Femi Oshin

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