Five ‘Migrants’ Dead in Shipwreck off Colombian Coast

Bogota, Jan 4 (AFP/APP): At least five migrants, including a child, died and another 14 are missing after a boat sank between Colombia and Panama, Colombian authorities said on Monday.

Another “nine people have been rescued alive,” said Alexander Murillo, the mayor of Acandi in the northwestern Choco region, speaking to Blu Radio. Murillo said he did not know where the migrants were from but added that they were off Colombia’s Caribbean coast when they hit trouble. The mayor added that two people piloting the boat had been arrested.

The Gulf of Uraba, where they were shipwrecked, is one of the main transit routes used by migrants from Africa, Asia and Haiti heading to the United States from South America via stops in Central America. Last September, around 100 Haitian migrants were rescued in the same area after they were abandoned at sea by people traffickers while trying to reach Panama.

Many migrants from Africa and Asia can fly visa-free to some South American countries such as Ecuador, from where they travel by land and sea to try to reach the US.

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