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16 Illegal Immigrations Drown off the Coast of Spain

A boat full of immigrants who sought to illegally enter into Spain sank off the coast of the Iberian country with a toll of 16 dead and three missing, police said on Friday. 

Nine other illegal immigrations on board the boat were arrested upon arrival in the coast in Fuerteventura, one of the Spanish Canary Islands, said the authorities.


Initial reports said the victims may have come from North Africa and the tragedy is the first of its kind in 2004.


In 2003, 104 immigrants died in their attempt to reach the coast of Spain, 44 in the Canary Islands.


In 2002, a total of 35 immigrants drowned while in 2001, the number was 86.


Africans looking for a better life regularly attempt to enter Spain, either by crossing the Canary Islands off southern Morocco, or by trying to cross the Strait of Gibraltar to get to the coast in southern Spain. 


(Xinhua News Agency January 17, 2004)

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