Spain offers drones, reinforcement to help Senegal tackle migration crisis

DAKAR/MADRID (Reuters) - Spain has delivered six new multicopter drones to Senegal and plans to reinforce its deployed security personnel to help the West African nation tackle a migration crisis, Spain's acting Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska said on Monday.

Grande-Marlaska is in Senegal where he met his Senegalese counterpart, Sidiki Kaba, as the number of would-be migrants from West Africa, especially Senegal, to reach Spain's Canary Islands this year is near a record high.

Grande-Marlaska said the drones delivered to the Senegal Police are designed to detect vessel departures so that they could be intercepted.

He added that Spain had also deployed a civil guard aircraft to help patrol the coasts of Senegal and Mauritania, in addition to 38 troops equipped with four boats, a helicopter and 13 all-terrain vehicles that carry out joint patrol missions with Senegalese forces.

The journey from Senegal to Spain's Canary Islands is one of the deadliest but numerous accidents have fail to deter people from attempting the voyage.

"We must stop his unscrupulous actions that put the lives of thousands of vulnerable people at risk," Grande-Marlaska said during a joint press conference.

Both ministers said they would increase efforts to combat illegal immigration and avoid more deaths at sea, but did not announce additional measures.

(Reporting by Joan Faus, Corina Rodriguez and Ngouda Dione; Writing by Anait Miridzhanian and Bate Felix; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)