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A Spanish official says spotter planes are helping curtail the number of West African migrant boats

MADRID (AP) — A senior Spanish official says the deployment of two Spanish surveillance planes to watch for migrant boats heading on the treacherous route from West Africa to Spain’s Canary Islands has enabled authorities to stop 59 canoes from Senegal and Gambia. The vessels carried around 7,200 migrants over the past two months. Spanish Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska said Friday that the boats that were stopped accounted for around half of those that officials believed would otherwise be heading to the Canary Islands off northwest Africa over that period. The archipelago has witnessed a record number of irregular migrant arrivals this year.

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