Senegal: at least 20 migrants dead off the coast of Saint-Louis Senegal: at least 20 migrants dead off the coast of Saint-Louis

Senegal: at least 20 migrants dead off the coast of Saint-Louis

Senegal: at least 20 migrants dead off the coast of Saint-Louis

At least two dozen people died off Senegal's northern coast and many others were injured when their boat capsized, authorities said, highlighting the danger of the route taken by a growing number of migrants seeking to reach Spain from West Africa.

The boat, which was heading towards Europe, capsized near the city of Saint-Louis , where bodies were washed ashore on Wednesday afternoon and firefighters were alerted, said Alioune Badara Sambe, the governor of the locality.

The injured are being treated in a Saint-Louis hospital and an investigation into the circumstances of the accident has been opened, he added.

The number of migrants leaving Senegal on rickety wooden boats surged last year, and nearly 1,000 people died trying to reach Spain by sea in the first six months of 2023, according to the Spanish migrant rights association Walking Borders.

Factors such as youth unemployment , political unrest and the impact of climate change are pushing migrants to risk their lives on overcrowded boats.

Senegal was plunged into turmoil when elections scheduled for February were controversially postponed by the president, sparking deadly protests. Elections have been proposed for June, but it is not yet clear whether or when the president, whose term officially ends in April, will leave power.

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