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89 dead as migrant boat sinks off Mauritania coast

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At least 89 bodies were recovered off the coast of Mauritania after a migrant boat capsized this week, the West African country's state news agency and the head of a fishing association said.

The Atlantic migration route from the coast of West Africa to the Canary Islands, typically used by African migrants trying to reach Spain, is one of the world's deadliest. Summer is its busiest period.

Mauritania's state news agency said on Thursday that the coast guard had recovered the bodies of 89 migrants who were bound for Europe on a boat that was carrying 170 people.

It said that nine people, including a five-year-old girl, were rescued.

Mauritanian authorities could not be reached for comment.

Yali Fall, president of the fishing association in the southwestern town of Ndiago, said on Friday the death toll stood at 105 and that locals had been burying bodies retrieved from the coast since Monday.

"For three days, we buried the dead whose bodies were found," he said.

An unprecedented nearly 5,000 migrants died at sea in the first five months of 2024 trying to reach the Canary Islands, migration rights group Walking Borders said in June.

Arrivals to the archipelago in that period soared five times to over 16,500 from a year ago, Spanish interior ministry data showed.

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