Maghreb states become new staging posts for illegal Europe migration

Maghreb states become new staging posts for illegal Europe migration
Algerian coastguard intercepted 300 migrants off the North African coast, as tougher policing off Libya's waters makes Maghreb states the new launchpad for illegal migration to Europe.
1 min read
20 November, 2017
Algeria's coastguard have intercepted migrants from a new route to Europe [AFP]

Algerian coastguard prevented almost 300 migrants leaving the North African coast for Europe last week, as the Maghreb states become a new staging post for illegal migration to Europe.

Around 200 of the Algerians leaving for Europe were intercepted at sea off the coast of Oran, in the country's west.

The operations were launched between Thursday and Saturday, as migrants attempted to make the perilous journey across the Mediterranean Sea in flimsy boats.

"[We] intercepted and rescued a total of 286 Algerian citizens," the coastguard said, according to AFP.

Algeria has tough laws on illegal migration, with six months in jail for anyone caught leaving the country through unofficial channels and 20 years in jail for people smugglers.

Italian coastguard intercepted 165 Algerian migrants off the coast of Sardinia in September.

Last week, 250 migrants were rescued off the Spanish coast who were believed to have travelled via Morocco.

Intensified policing of Libya's coastal waters has led to migrants choosing Maghreb states - notably Morocco and Algeria - over Libya, in their attempts to reach Europe.

Agencies contributed to this story.