Ruben Andersson is a PhD student in LSE’s Department of Anthropology. His research looks at clandestine migration from West Africa towards Southern Spain and the Canary Islands. Here are some snapshots of his journeys around West Africa.
I carried out research with Senegalese forces patrolling the country’s coastlines and borders as well as with travellers from the region with their sights set on North Africa or Europe. Senegal is co-operating with EU migration control programmes, a key theme in my research on “irregular migration” across Senegal, Mali, Morocco and Spain.
A few years ago, wooden vessels similar to these were used to cross vast stretches of the Atlantic to reach the Spanish Canary Islands. Many migrants never arrived. My research has looked at the situation of those among them who were repatriated to Senegal and the circuit of NGOs, journalists, policing and policy initiatives that surrounds them.
Many West and Central Africans journey through Mali‘s dusty and traffic-choked capital on their way to the Maghreb, or find themselves deported here after long and arduous journeys.
The twin border towns of Rosso-Senegal and Rosso-Mauritania are hubs for travellers heading north, as well as for smuggling and police crackdowns.