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» 01.03.2010 - Regional bloc hails Ivorian progress
» 17.02.2010 - Jonathan appeals for concerted efforts to fight drug trafficking
» 17.12.2009 - Media rights group condemns arrest of media players
» 07.07.2009 - West Africa makes progress on security
» 17.03.2009 - UN grounds West Africa air service
» 04.09.2008 - Relief efforts increased in west Africa
» 29.07.2008 - UN expands food aid in West Africa
» 23.11.2006 - West Africans parents "tricked into child trafficking"

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230 African immigrants land on Canary Islands

afrol News, 1 October - Spanish coastguards have rescued about 230 African would be migrants aboard single largest boatload ever to reach Spain territory, south of Canary Islands, Spanish officials said.

Coastguards spotted wooden boat when it was about 90 kilometres south of Atlantic archipelago and took them to port of Los Cristianos on island of Tenerife late on Monday.

Officials said images of exhausted, bedraggled migrants reaching land in the Canary Islands are a familiar sight for locals in the islands.

All Africans were male, including at least 20 children, a spokeswoman for Spain's emergency services said.

"Such a large fishing boat could not have set off from the shore directly into the sea," Juan Antonio Corujo of Spanish Red Cross told national radio.

Tuesday, a second boat carrying almost 100 people washed up on the beach of Pozo Izquierdo on Gran Canaria, where residents, emergency services and Red Cross gave assistance to the occupants.

"Poverty and hunger force these people to gamble with their lives," said Jose Segura, a Socialist deputy representing the Canaries. "The solution is for rich countries to invest in Africa."

Dozens of Africans have died in the past few months trying to take advantage of calmer summer weather to make the journey to the Canary Islands and Spanish mainland to find jobs in Europe.

Tens of thousands have reached Spanish shores in recent years, prompting Spain's Socialist government to toughen its line on illegal immigration. Thousands more are believed to have drowned or died of thirst or exposure in the attempt.

Immigrants traditionally attempted to cross the Strait of Gibraltar to get to the Spanish mainland but a crackdown there has led traffickers to increasingly use longer and more dangerous routes, including to Spain's Canary Islands located to west of Morocco.

Nearly 5,400 illegal immigrants have arrived on Canary Islands so far this year, down from 6,655 who landed on the archipelago during same period in 2007, according to government figures.

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