Spain said Saturday that it would send planes to scan the coast of Senegal for migrants trying to sail to Europe, in a bid to stem a flood of illegal immigration from Africa to its shores.
Spain's interior minister, Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba, announced the measure after a meeting on Friday with his Senegalese counterpart Ousmane Ngom and after 90 migrants landed overnight in a vessel on Tenerife, a Spanish island.
They were the latest of more than 24,000 illegal arrivals on Spanish soil from Africa this year. Many of the migrants have landed on the Canary Islands, a Spanish-held archipelago north of Senegal off the Moroccan coast. They often risk death, traveling in small boats, to enter Spain in hopes of finding work in Europe.
Spain and Senegal also agreed to bolster the measures in place on the Canaries to identify people arriving from Senegal, one of the main countries of origin for the wave of migrants.
The two countries signed an agreement in August for Senegal to discourage people from migrating and providing logistical help for Spain to monitor the African country's coasts.
Senegal's president, Abdoulaye Wade, criticized Spain on Thursday for what he described as its government's slowness to send adequate patrols to Senegal.
Rescue services estimate that 550 people may have died this year in unsuccessful attempts to reach the Canaries.
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