Four drowned “Harragas” and 13 others were rescued, H24info

The Defense Ministry said on Sunday that the Algerian Coast Guard had recovered four bodies and apprehended 13 migrants who were on board a boat that capsized off the Algerian coast.

“The Territorial Group of the Coast Guard of Algiers and a Search and Rescue Helicopter of the Naval Forces proceeded to rescue 13 illegal migrants and recover four bodies of other immigrants on Saturday 16 October 2021. The boat reached 16 nautical miles (approx. 29 km) north of the city of Algiers, ”said a statement from the Ministry of Defense.

The press release did not specify the nationality of the victims. But most often, it is Algerian.

Despite the deadly risks of shipwrecks and crossing the Mediterranean, more and more Algerian “harragas” are taking to sea, usually heading towards the Spanish coast.

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The term “harraga” (literally “burner”) refers to the fact that illegal youth often set their identity documents on fire to destroy them upon arrival at their destination, to avoid being repatriated to Algeria.

According to data published by the Algerian Defense Ministry, 4,704 harragas have been intercepted since the beginning of the year, more than half of which are during the month of September.

The increase in migrant departures has been bolstered by the Covid-19 pandemic. In 2020 there were over 8,000 interceptions by the Algerian Coast Guard.

Algeria passed a law in 2009 aimed at “combating illegal immigration”, which provides for up to six months’ imprisonment for offenders, but this has had no deterrent effect on departure.

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