January 31, 2019 / 10:47 PM / 21 days ago

Colombia recovers bodies of 12 African migrants drowned in accident

BOGOTA (Reuters) - Colombia’s navy has recovered the bodies of 12 African migrants, including seven children, who died in a shipwreck in the Caribbean, a source from the country’s migration agency said on Thursday.

The shipwreck took place early on Sunday, the source said, and its cause is unknown. The migrants were traveling without visas and were being transported by traffickers to Panama.

Survivors told the agency the boat was carrying about 30 people, some of whom remain missing, the source said.

The source could not confirm the migrants’ nationalities.

A spokesman from the migration agency said it was waiting on information from the navy and did not have a comment at this time.

The jungle region in northern Colombia, bordered by Panama and the Caribbean, is often used for illegal migrant trafficking.

Many of the people who use routes through the area are Cuban or African and are attempting to reach the United States eventually.

At least 57,000 people have been detected attempting to use the route in the past five years, according to official Colombian figures.

Reporting by Luis Jaime Acosta; Writing by Julia Symmes Cobb; Editing by Peter Cooney

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