Sun, 29 Nov 2020

DAKAR, Oct. 30 (Xinhua) -- At least 140 died last week following the sinking of their boat off the Senegalese coast, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has said in a statement.

"At least 140 people have drowned after a vessel carrying around 200 migrants sank off the Senegalese coast," the IOM said in the statement late Thursday, describing it as the deadliest shipwreck in 2020.

The vessel, which left Senegal from the coastal town of Mbour on Oct. 24 for the Canary Islands of Spain, caught fire a few hours after departure and capsized off the town of Saint-Louis, the IOM said, quoting local residents.

Local media said Senegalese and Spanish navies and fishermen nearby rescued 59 people and retrieved the remains of 20 others.

On Oct. 26-27, neighboring Mauritania said it "saved" 295 Senegalese migrants heading for the Canary Islands.

According to the IOM, at least 414 people have died this year in their attempts to reach the Canary Islands.

"We call for unity between governments, partners and the international community to dismantle trafficking and smuggling networks that take advantage of desperate youth," said Bakary Doumbia, IOM Senegal chief of mission.

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