Saudi Arabia stops 31 African migrants in Red Sea

AFP , Tuesday 12 Jul 2016

Saudi maritime patrols have intercepted 31 illegal migrants, mostly from Sudan, trying to reach the kingdom by sea, official media said on Tuesday, the latest case in recent weeks.

The Saudi Press Agency has reported a surge of migrant interceptions over the past month.

Border guards on Sunday caught the group of 31 migrants as they made their way to Saudi Arabia "using a wooden boat, coming from Sudan's beaches," SPA said.

More than one-third of them were women, it quoted border guards spokesman Colonel Sahir al-Harbi as saying.

They bring to 308 the number of illegal immigrants intercepted by Saudi border guards since the first half of June, according to figures cited by SPA.

The vast majority have been Sudanese, whose impoverished homeland lies on the other side of the Red Sea from oil-rich Saudi Arabia.

There have also been Ethiopians, Chadians, Nigerians and an Eritrean, SPA said.

According to the United Nations, since 2014 more than 10,000 people have died crossing the Mediterranean from Africa to Europe, which is experiencing its worst migrant crisis since World War II.

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