Morocco rescues 131 migrants on their way to the Canary Islands

Among those rescued were eight minors 
Imagen de migrantes - AP/JEREMIAS GONZALEZ
Image of migrants - AP/JEREMIAS GONZALEZ
  1. Relevance of the Canary Islands route

The Moroccan Armed Forces rescued 131 migrants who were in two boats off the coast of the city of Laayoune while they were allegedly heading to the Canary Islands. 

Among those rescued were eight minors, as well as 27 women. All the rescued people were taken to Laayoune, an enclave in Western Sahara. 

A patrol of the Royal Moroccan Navy proceeded to assist the boats intercepted 50 kilometres from the city of Laayoune, as reported by the Moroccan armed forces themselves through the social network X. 

The Moroccan authorities proceeded to offer assistance to the 131 irregular migrants rescued, all of them of sub-Saharan origin, before transferring them to Laayoune to be placed at the disposal of the Gendarmerie and carry out the corresponding formalities.

Relevance of the Canary Islands route

According to the latest report by the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) for the first quarter of the year, the West African route has experienced a 510% increase in arrivals compared to last year. This increase is due to the political instability in the Sahel, a region some 700 kilometres from the Canary Islands, where Morocco has much to say as an important player in maintaining stability and security in the region.  

Several major countries, such as the United States and Spain, work closely with the Moroccan armed forces in cooperation operations and military exercises to promote security and act against Jihadist terrorist groups and criminal organisations of all kinds that engage in illegal activities, such as human smuggling, in this unstable area.  

On the other hand, the latest balance sheet of the Spanish Ministry of the Interior puts the total number of migrants who have arrived irregularly in Spain so far this year at 17,529. Of the total number of people who have entered from January to 15 April, 14,030 have done so via the Canary Islands, as reported by various media outlets such as Radio Televisión Pública de Canarias and the Europa Press agency.