Nine Bodies Found Adrift in Brazilian Waters Likely Migrants from Mauritania and Mali

Migrants from Eritrea, Egypt, Syria and Sudan, wait to be assisted by aid workers of the Spanish NGO Open Arms, after fleeing Libya on board a precarious wooden boat in the Mediterranean sea, about 110 miles north of Libya, on Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021. (AP Photo/Joan Mateu)

Brazilian authorities are probing a grim find: a boat containing decomposing bodies, likely African migrants from Mali and Mauritania. Discovered adrift off Pará’s coast by local fishermen, the vessel yielded nine bodies upon recovery. Evidence suggests it may have carried around 25 individuals, inferred from the quantity of raincoats aboard. Documents and belongings near the bodies point to West African origins, although diverse nationalities among the deceased haven’t been ruled out. Resembling Mauritanian fishing boats known as pirogues, the vessel’s appearance suggests it was bound for Spain’s Canary Islands, not Brazil. The bodies’ advanced state of decay indicates an extended period of drifting.
The Atlantic route from West Africa to the EU is notorious for its perils, with boats often lost and migrants succumbing to dehydration or taking desperate measures. In 2021, seven similar boats were found in the Caribbean and Brazil. Initial analysis indicates departure from Mauritania after January 17th, with an estimated drift distance of approximately 4,800 kilometers from Pará’s coast. Forensic examinations are underway to glean further insights.
The surge in migration from Northwest Africa to Spain in 2024 has raised concerns, despite agreements between the EU and Mauritania. Over 13,000 migrants have reached the Canaries this year, with hundreds reported missing. In response, families in Mauritania have formed a commission to search for missing loved ones, anxiously following updates on the Brazil discovery.

About Geraldine Boechat 2711 Articles
Senior Editor for Medafrica Times and former journalist for Swiss National Television. former NGO team leader in Burundi and Somalia