Two dead as migrant boat sinks off Mexico

MEXICO CITY (AFP) – A small boat carrying African migrants off the coast of southern Mexico sank on Friday, leaving two people dead and one missing, authorities said.

The boat was travelling off the southern border state of Chiapas when it listed to one side, pitching its occupants into the water, the state prosecutor’s office said in a statement.

A 39-year-old man was found dead, it added, washed up on the shore. A second body was later located a few hundred metres from the first. A search operation “managed to rescue eight migrants alive,” the prosecutor’s office said, adding one person was still missing.

All were from Cameroon, a country that has seen a growing exodus of refugees amid an increasingly violent conflict between its French-and-English- speaking communities.

Chiapas is a main crossroads for migrants crossing Mexico toward the United States (US). They are mostly Central Americans, but in recent years there has been an increasing number of Africans, who often fly to South America and then make long treks overland and by boat.

African migrants in Chiapas regularly stage protests demanding the Mexican authorities to allow them to continue their journey toward the US.