Friday, June 02, 2006

Morocco detains 102 trying to cross to Europe

Moroccan authorities have detained 102 people, including 12 women and four children, trying to cross into Europe illegally, state news agency MAP reported on Friday, quoting police.

The arrests of 68 sub-Saharan Africans and 34 Moroccans were made late on Thursday in the northern coastal region of Nador.

That brought to at least 5,600 the number of people arrested in Morocco in the first six months of this year attempting to reach Spain, according to official figures.

The total is a fraction of the approximately 30,000 arrests during the same period last year. Analysts attribute the drop to Rabat's crackdown on illegal migration.

Morocco deployed thousands more soldiers and police to shut illegal migrant gates into Spain from its Mediterranean and Atlantic shores, prompting would-be migrants to seek illegal entries down the coast of West Africa off Mauritania and Senegal.


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