Morocco intercepts nearly 200 migrants trying to reach Spain

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A security guard stands on the other side of a barbed wire fence from emigrants in Ceuta, a Spanish enclave situated along the Strait of Gibraltar in Morocco. This area is a security checkpoint for travelers heading to and from Europe. (Photo by © Patrick Robert/Sygma/CORBIS/Sygma via Getty Images)
A security guard stands on the other side of a barbed wire fence from emigrants in Ceuta, a Spanish enclave situated along the Strait of Gibraltar in Morocco. This area is a security checkpoint for travelers heading to and from Europe. (Photo by © Patrick Robert/Sygma/CORBIS/Sygma via Getty Images)

The Moroccan coast guard intercepted 168 migrants this week who tried to reach Spain using makeshift crafts, including jet-skis and kayaks, the official MAP news agency reported Saturday.

MAP, quoting a military source, said the migrants who had come from sub-Saharan Africa were intercepted on Wednesday and Thursday and brought back to Morocco after receiving medical care.

Located in northwestern Africa, the kingdom is a key transit route for migrants from sub-Saharan Africa attempting to reach Europe.

According to the EU border protection agency Frontex, the number of migrants who tried to reach the Spanish coast from the Western Mediterranean fell by more than half during the first eight months of 2020, compared with the same period last year.

In total, 8,200 illegal migrants made the sea crossing in the first eight months of this year, Frontex said, adding that Algerian nationals accounted for nearly two-thirds of them, followed by Moroccans.

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