Fisherman raises alarm after eight young North Africans arrive by boat in Monte Gordo

A keen-eyed fishermen raised the alarm this morning after eight young North Africans disembarked from an ‘old wooden boat’ and fled into the dunes of Monte Gordo beach.

The youngsters, aged apparently from 16 to 20, have since been detained by Maritime Police and are being questioned in Vila Real de Santo António.

It seems they are Moroccans, but they don’t have any identity papers on them.

Explain reports, the story so far is that they all came from the Moroccan town of El Jadida, and had been at sea in the boat for five days.

None of them were showing any signs of being unwell or badly affected by the journey. The only detail mentioned is that they all said they were hungry.

This is the second incident of its kind to have been reported in southern Portugal.

Twelve years ago, again in December, authorities detected a group of 19 migrants – again allegedly from Morocco – who arrived by boat in Ria Formosa, near Olhão.

If the latest arrivals’ story checks out, it means they will have travelled a considerable distance. El Jadida is at least 100 kms south of Casablanca, and a long sail from the Portuguese coast.

Coincidentally, El Jadida is also known as the ‘Portuguese city of Mazagan’. It was founded by Portuguese ‘discoverers’ at the beginning of the 14th century and still has some Portuguese vestiges, including gravestones of Portuguese sailors in the town cemetery.

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