SAINT LOUIS, Senegal — Senegal’s navy said Sunday that it had stopped two more boats carrying 262 potential migrants late the night before, bringing the total to five boats intercepted and more than 600 people rescued by a navy patrol boat since Thursday.
Those rescued included 26 women and 13 minors, the Navy said in a post on social media platform
The back-to-back rescues come during the busy summer season, when thousands of migrants brave the hundreds of miles of ocean separating Africa from Europe every year in a desperate search for a better life.
In August, only 37 people survived after a migrant boat carrying 101 people from Senegal was found to have been left adrift in the ocean for weeks without fuel.
From Senegal, they leave fishing villages and towns along the Atlantic coasts in brightly colored fishing vessels and take to the open ocean, packed with people who have no shelter from the elements.
Another fishing boat carrying more than 100 people from the south of the country ran aground in the coastal town of Saint Louis on Saturday when high winds forced it to turn around, witnesses said.
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“We were chilling on the beach when we suddenly saw a canoe arriving with migrants on board. As they got closer to the shore, they frantically jumped into the water,” said Fallou Ndir, a 19-year-old Saint Louis resident. “We all rushed to witness this even though it is common here.”
The migrants jump off to avoid arrest by the Navy, he said, adding that they blend in with the population and disappear once they reach dry land.
On Sunday morning, a Reuters reporter watched the abandoned boat being taken apart on Saint Louis beach by young men who plan to use the wood to rebuild another boat.
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