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Seven migrants dead, 23 missing in Colombia shipwreck

Update: January, 31/2019 - 10:00

BOGOTA — Seven migrants are dead and 23 missing after their boat capsized in the Caribbean Sea off northwestern Colombia, officials said on Wednesday.

The vessel carrying 18 adults and 14 children was upended by a wave on early Monday that left passengers "adrift in the sea," said Lilia Cordoba, the mayor of the Colombian coastal town of Acandi.

Seven bodies, including a child, were recovered on Tuesday and Wednesday along two beaches in the western department of Choco, a statement from the Colombian military said.

The boat was part of a group of four 29-person dinghies that set out on Monday from Capurgana beach in northwestern Colombia and were headed for Panama, Cordoba said in a video released to the media.

Two survivors said the ships were overloaded, according the mayor.

The migrants were apparently African, the regional ombudsman Rafael Bolanos, charged with defending human rights in Colombia, said.

The Gulf of Uraba, where the boat capsized, is one of the main transit points for African, Asian and Haitian migrants trying to reach the US through the Caribbean, often making stops in Central American countries.

Since the beginning of the year, the Colombian military has rescued 84 shipwreck survivors and recovered 13 bodies. — AFP

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