Boat Carrying Several Migrants Capsizes Off Senegal’s Northern Coast

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At least two dozens of people died off Senegal’s northern coast and many were injured when their boat capsized, said officials.

The authorities said this development underscores the danger of the route used by an increasing number of migrants seeking to reach Spain from West Africa.

The boat was bound for Europe and capsized near the town of Saint-Louis where bodies washed ashore Wednesday afternoon and the fire department was alerted, said Alioune Badara Sambe, the local governor.

The injured are being treated in a hospital in Saint-Louis and an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the accident has been opened, he said.

The number of migrants leaving from Senegal on rickety wooden boats surged last year, and nearly 1,000 people died while trying to reach Spain by sea in the first six months of 2023, according to the Spanish migration advocacy group, Walking Borders.

Factors such as youth unemployment, political unrest and the impact of climate change push migrants to risk their lives on overcrowded boats.

Senegal has been thrown into turmoil as elections meant for February were controversially delayed by the president, sparking deadly protests.

Elections have been proposed for June but it’s unclear when or whether the president, whose term officially ends in April, will step down.