Senegal announces migration action plan

DAKAR (AFP): Senegal on Thursday presented a ten-year plan to combat irregular migration from the West African nation with domestic and external financing, amid heightened attention on migrants following several tragedies.

The National Strategy to Combat Irregular Migration (SNLMI) aims to “drastically” reduce irregular migration by 2033, Interior Minister Antoine Felix Abdoulaye Diome said Thursday.

The five-pillar plan involves strengthening border management and law enforcement measures against smugglers, and helping to repatriate and reintegrate migrants in Senegal.

The government did not reveal the cost of the scheme but said it would be financed by the national budget as well as external partners.

Several boats have sunk or gone missing in recent weeks along the Atlantic migration route, between the coast of West Africa and the Spanish Canary Islands.

In Senegal, 16 people died on Monday off the capital Dakar after their boat capsized. Another boat sank on July 12 near Saint-Louis, in the north, killing at least 14 people.

Morocco’s navy last week said it had “rescued” nearly 900 irregular migrants in a one-week period earlier this month.

Most were from sub-Saharan Africa, it said.

On Tuesday, Senegalese government spokesman Abdou Karim Fofana said the police had arrested 530 would-be migrants and seized nine boats since the start of the year. The gendarmerie has arrested 195, including 173 Senegalese citizens, he said.

The new action plan follows a request last week by President Macky Sall to step up efforts to combat irregular migration.