09 August 2009

One Algerian migrant dies, 11 missing

ALGIERS (Aug 8, 2009) - One Algerian man died and at least 11 others are missing after a small boat full of illegal migrants heading for Europe collided with a coastguards' vessel, two newspapers reported on Saturday.

The collision happened on Friday morning off Annaba, some 600 km (375 miles) east of the capital Algiers, El Watan and Echorouk said, citing coastguard officials.

The independent dailies said the 24 migrants on the boat, chanting "we go or we die", tried to defy coastguard units who had surrounded them.

Coastguards are searching for 11 people missing after the boat sank, El Watan said.

Echorouk newspaper put the number of missing people at 16.

Official figures show 1,500 Algerians were arrested in 2007 trying to leave the country, as illegal migrants, for Europe