- Rescue officials have called off the search for survivors or bodies of illegal immigrants whose boat capsized between Morocc and Spain.
The search headed by Spanish rescuers, was called off last night with only 11 survivors, including seven women, rescued and 8 bodies recovered. Of the survivors, four were said to be admitted in hospital while the rest would await a court appearance in Tangiers.
The boat which is believed to have been carrying 60 people on board, capsized on the early hours Saturday, just 200 off the Moroccan coast. The immigrants were said to be head to Spain.
Thousands of people seeking a better life in Europe brave the rough seas from Africa to the Canary Islands or the Spanish mainland in overcrowded boats. Most are caught and hundreds die along the way.
But increased surveillance has meant the number of migrants reaching the Canary Islands has dropped from almost 32,000 in 2006 to about 9,000 in 2008.
Police say African migrants pay on average £1,000 to trafficking gangs to reach the Moroccan coast. However, many are now being turned back following increased surveillance of African coastal waters by local and European vessels.
More than 500 undocumented migrants in Morocco from several sub-Saharan African countries were offered voluntary return earlier this year under the auspices of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).
The migrants, mostly young people from Congo Brazzaville, Ivory Coast, Guinea Conakry and the Democratic Republic of Congo, have requested aid from the IOM after having spent years isolated in Morocco without adequate resources.
Since 2005, over 1,800 undocumented migrants from 20 countries in sub-Saharan Africa have benefited from the programme of voluntary return.
With new funding from the European Commission, Italy, Switzerland and United Kingdom, another 1,000 immigrants are eligible for aid for the return and reintegration during the 12 months programme.
afrol News - It is called "financial inclusion", and it is a key government policy in Rwanda. The goal is that, by 2020, 90 percent of the population is to have and actively use bank accounts. And in only four years, financial inclusion has doubled in Rwanda.
afrol News - The UN's humanitarian agencies now warn about a devastating famine in Sudan and especially in South Sudan, where the situation is said to be "imploding". Relief officials are appealing to donors to urgently fund life-saving activities in the two countries.
afrol News - Fear is spreading all over West Africa after the health ministry in Guinea confirmed the first Ebola outbreak in this part of Africa. According to official numbers, at least 86 are infected and 59 are dead as a result of this very contagious disease.
afrol News - It is already a crime being homosexual in Ethiopia, but parliament is now making sure the anti-gay laws will be applied in practical life. No pardoning of gays will be allowed in future, but activist fear this only is a signal of further repression being prepared.
afrol News / Africa Renewal - Ethiopia's ambitious plan to build a US$ 4.2 billion dam in the Benishangul-Gumuz region, 40 km from its border with Sudan, is expected to provide 6,000 megawatts of electricity, enough for its population plus some excess it can sell to neighbouring countries.