Spanish police arrest 3 people over the deaths of 5 migrants forced out of a smugglers’ boat

MADRID (AP) — Spanish police have arrested three people for the deaths last November of five migrants who were threatened with a machete and forced to jump off the boat they were traveling in with dozens of other migrants, authorities said Monday.

According to a police statement, the five died on Nov. 29 off the southern coast of Cádiz. The police said two men and a woman were arrested earlier this month but gave no further details.

The people smugglers had threatened the five with a machete and forced them to jump into the Atlantic Ocean despite the strong currents and cold temperatures.

Thirty-seven migrants had traveled in the boat from Kenitra, Morocco. The statement said the migrants had paid between 3,000 euros ($3,270) and 12,000 euros ($13,000) for a place in the boat.

Video images in November showed many of the other migrants being forced out of the vessel closer to land, before the smugglers sped off in the powerful boat. Police said they found the boat and some documents later, which helped in tracking down the three suspects.

Four of the bodies were recovered within hours and a fifth was found days later. The migrants were identified with the help of DNA samples from a family in Morocco.

Tens of thousands of migrants from sub-Saharan countries try to reach Spain each year in large open boats launched from northwest Africa. Most go to the Canary Islands in the Atlantic, while others try to cross the Mediterranean Sea to mainland Spain.

Several thousand are known to die making the hazardous journey.


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