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Thirty-nine illegal migrants died Thursday after their boat sank in international waters off Nouadhibou, the economic capital of Mauritania, a security source told Xinhua.

“According to the only survivor, a Guinean who is currently in a hospital in the economic capital (Nouadhibou), the boat came from Morocco to go to the Canary Islands in Spain,” the security source in Nouadhibou said. “Our boat broke down and we received no help,” the source quoted the survivor.

The accident was also confirmed by Vincent Cochetel, special envoy of the UNHCR for the Central Mediterranean situation on his social media account.

Many West African and North African migrants often use Mauritania as an important transfer point on their way to Europe or the Canary Islands.

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