Interior reschedules deportation flight of immigrants to Senegal to March 10th
The Ministry of the Interior has rescheduled the deportation flight from Tenerife North to Senegal to March 10th, of immigrants who arrived from that country in cayucos to the Canary Islands, which it had originally planned to carry out last week on February 24th, according to sources in charge of its supervision.
This will be the first return flight of immigrants from the Canary Islands to Dakar that has been organized since 2018, when at least 150 Senegalese were transferred to their country in four planes that departed from Gran Canaria (one, with 40 people) and Tenerife (three, with a total of 110 people).
The Ministry has not explained why the flight was postponed last Wednesday, but the decision coincided with the detection of cases of coronavirus in the detention centre for foreigners (CIE) in Tenerife, where the Senegalese citizens who were going to be returned in that operation, were based.
The outbreak at the CIE in Tenerife was discovered in early February, and its last case was diagnosed just a week before the return flight, specifically on February 17th, as sources from the Ministry of Health have confirmed to the Efe news agency.
Last year, the Canary Islands received 23,023 immigrants in boats or cayucos, of which more than half were Moroccans, according to figures from Marítime Rescue. The Ministry del Interior does not provide nationalities of people who arrive by boat to the islands, but UNHCR estimates that, as of November, over 900 were Senegalese.
After the closure of borders both in Spain and in Africa due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Ministry managed to restore deportations to Mauritania on November 10th, on a flight from Gran Canaria, with which 22 immigrants were returned: 20 Senegalese, one Guinean and a Mauritanian.
Spain has had an agreement with Mauritania since 2003 by which this country accepts that any immigrant that arrives in the Canary Islands, regardless of their nationality, be handed back over to them, if they have left its shores or have simply passed through its territory.
In December, returns to Morocco were reactivated, with a maximum capacity of 80 people a week, and a few weeks ago the mechanism to start deporting Senegalese was put into operation again.