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Malian Migrants 'Dumped in The Desert'

NOUAKCHOTT — Moroccan troops have dumped a group of 34 Malian would-be migrants in the desert on the border with Mauritania, in an area known as "Kilometre 55", a security source said on Thursday.

"They were turned away by Morocco two days ago. They are a few metres (yards) from the border with Mauritania," the source told AFP, asking not to be named, and adding that "the Mauritanian Red Cross has taken them in charge."

Humanitarian organisations have repeatedly denounced Morocco's practice of abandoning groups of African migrants in this stretch of the desert, also known as Kandahar, between the Western Sahara and Mauritania.

The Red Cross gave the Malians tents and food, with health care, the source said, "while waiting for an administrative solution to their problem."

The Malians left Nouadhibou in Mauritania less than a week ago in a small boat heading for Las Palmas in the Spanish Canary Islands, but they were intercepted by the Moroccan coastguard, according to the Red Cross.

A second vessel travelling with them but carrying Senegalese would-be migrants was also intercepted, but no details were available as to what happened to the passengers.

Morocco regularly turns away migrants who try to cross the territory of the north African kingdom and use its coast as a departure point in a bid to reach Europe. The Canary Islands are a popular destination.

Source: AFP

Tags:Malian Migrants 'Dumped in The Desert', Mali,Morocco
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