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Spain Sending Illegal Migrants Back to Senegal


Spain says it has begun repatriating illegal Senegalese migrants who recently arrived in Spain's Canary Islands.

Flights carrying the illegal migrants are expected to land in the west African nation later Wednesday.

Spain's labor minister, Jesus Caldera, said his government is handling the situation discreetly and did not release an official count of the returnees. However, the Spanish newspaper El Pais quotes officials as saying more than 1,000 migrants will be returned to Senegal.

A previous repatriation effort was halted in late May after Senegal complained that Spanish authorities had abused detained migrants. Spain has denied the accusations.

Senegal's government says it will cooperate with Madrid in the current efforts.

More than 22,000 Africans have made the perilous sea journey to the Canary Islands this year, nearly five times the number who arrived in all of 2005.

The influx has increased calls for tighter borders and immigration policies in Spain.

Spain is preparing to host a meeting of European Union interior, defense and foreign ministers later this month to create a proposal on how to better manage maritime borders.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.