AR ES SALAAM (Reuters) – Seven Ethiopian migrants drowned after a boat carrying 13 people capsized off the coast of Tanzania while en route to South Africa, Tanzanian police said on Tuesday.

Tanga Regional Police Commander Edward Bukombe said the boat went down early on Monday off East Africa’s Indian Ocean near Tanzania’s maritime border with Kenya.

“Of the people onboard, 12 were Ethiopians and another person, who was the boat captain, (his) nationality has not been identified because he is still missing. Seven people died in the accident and five have been rescued,” Bukombe told Reuters. He said they were still searching for the missing person.

Bukombe said Tanzania’s immigration service was in touch with the Ethiopian Embassy to arrange proper burial arrangements for the dead and decide on how to deal with those rescued at sea. “After questioning the survivors told us that they were going to South Africa,” he said.

Bukombe added that investigators had yet to identify those who had organized and financed the trip, saying the missing captain could have helped much more with the investigation.

He said it was not unusual for Tanzanian police to intercept and detain Ethiopian migrants on their way to South Africa, the continent’s largest and most developed economy, though migration was more common overland than by sea.

 

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