Two dozen African migrants rescued off Brazil coast | News | DW | 21.05.2018
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Two dozen African migrants rescued off Brazil coast

The boat with migrants from five West African countries was adrift for weeks when it was rescued. Two Brazilians, also aboard the boat, have been arrested for human trafficking, according to a local newspaper.

A boat with 25 migrants from West Africa was rescued off the coast of northern Brazil, authorities said on Sunday.

The group of migrants from Senegal, Nigeria, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Cape Verde landed Saturday, the government of Maranhao state said in a statement. Two Brazilians were also rescued from the boat.

While migrants from Africa and Middle East are known to be lured by human smugglers into making perilous journeys to Europe, often in unsafe boats, it's rare for them to attempt to cross the Atlantic.

Read more: Aid money alone will not be enough to stop the causes of migration

Human trafficking?

Local media reported the boat was adrift for weeks when it was rescued by fishermen.

Those rescued were suffering from dehydration, the state government said. They were given medical attention and meals upon arrival and then taken to a sports complex where they would be housed for the time being.

Both the rescued Brazilians were arrested for human trafficking, Brazilian newspaper Folha de S. Paulo reported, citing a federal police officer.

Brazil's navy said it had launched a probe into the incident but it did not comment on the arrests.

ap/kms (AP, Reuters)

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