More than 250 migrants intercepted off coast of Morocco

Africa: Between Saturday and Tuesday, the Moroccan navy intercepted 257 migrants who were on “traditional boats” or “kayaks” or trying “by swimming” to cross the Mediterranean and the Atlantic Ocean to Europe, a military source told.

The Moroccan Agency quoted a military source as saying that “Coast Guard units of the Royal Navy, operating in the Mediterranean and the Atlantic Ocean, provided assistance, during the Eid al-Adha period (from 9 to 12 July) to a total of 257 candidates for illegal immigration, who tried to carry out a Perilous operation crossing on board traditional boats and kayaks, as well as by swimming.

The majority of the rescued migrants from sub-Saharan Africa, including women and children, “in addition to an Afghan and a Yemeni citizen,” according to the source.

As per sources, the migrants “were transported safely to the nearest ports of the Kingdom, after they received the necessary first aid on board the Royal Navy units.”

The rescue operations come two weeks after nearly 2,000 migrants attempted to cross from Morocco into the Spanish enclave of Melilla.

During this attempt, 23 migrants were killed, according to the Moroccan authorities, while non-governmental organizations say that the death toll is “at least 37” and dozens of wounded, including 140 in the ranks of the Moroccan security forces and about fifty in the ranks of the Spanish police.

This toll of casualties is the heaviest ever recorded at the border between Morocco and the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla, which is the only land border of the European Union with the African continent.