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IOM reports drop in number of African migrants crossing to Europe

Italy, with 41% of the traffic, once again took in the lion’s share of African migrants.

FILE: Migrants seen aboard a wooden boat on the Mediterranean sea. Picture: AFP.

PRETORIA - The United Nations Immigration Agency is reporting a significant drop in the number of migrants crossing the Mediterranean to Europe from Africa.

There were 25,338 migrants that made this journey in the first 19 weeks of 2018. Some 628 died attempting it.

Italy, with 41% of the traffic, once again took in the lion’s share of African migrants. This was followed by Greece with 38%, leaving Spain with 21%.

This year’s number is less than half of those who landed in the same period in 2017 and about 13% of the number of migrants in 2016.

The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) says the largest number of migrants coming to Europe from North Africa are Tunisians, followed by Eritreans, Nigerians, Sudanese, Pakistanis, Malians, Guineans and Senegalese.

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)