Father of a dead migrant boy arrested in Senegal —-


Senegalese gendarmes arrested the father of a 15-year-old boy who died at sea while trying to migrate to Europe, an official familiar with the case said Wednesday.

The West African state official said the father – whose identity is unknown – paid a smuggler the equivalent of 380 euros ($ 450) to take his son to Spain.

Another contact would then have had to take the teenager to Italy to enroll in a football training center.

Dubbed Doudou, the boy boarded a traditional wooden ship in mid-October for Spain’s Canary Islands, according to the official, but died on the way.

The local press reported him dying of an illness and thrown overboard.

His tragic fate has drawn attention in Senegal, which has recently seen an increase in migrants trying to reach Europe via a perilous ocean crossing to the Canary Islands.

The archipelago is more than 100 kilometers (60 miles) off the coast of Africa at the closest point and the passage is typically done in wooden boats which are usually crammed and poorly maintained.

Migrants increasingly attempted the Atlantic route while the authorities held back the crossing from Libya to Europe.

The International Organization for Migration said more than 140 people died last month when a boat attempting the crossing sank off the coast of Senegal.

The government disputes those numbers, however.

Senegalese police said in a statement Wednesday that authorities have intercepted more than 1,500 migrants in recent days.

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