By Humphrey Carter

LAST night, the Guardia Civil were holding eleven illegal immigrants who had reached the south coast of Majorca early yesterday morning on board two small boats from North Africa.

The first of the two vessels was located beached amongst the rocks at Cala Figuereta early in the morning and the second spotted adrift off Cala s'Almonia by a local fisherman who immediately alerted the Guardia Civil.

A massive search of the area on land, sea and from the air was launched immediately by the Guardia Civil in a bid to find suspected illegal immigrants who would have been aboard the two vessels.

Shortly after the alarm was raised, a Guardia Civil patrol found one of the immigrants on a farm near Rafal.
He was arrested and during questioning told the Guardia Civil that he had travelled across with 13 companions in two boats.
The search area was widened and Guardia Civil traffic police mounted a series of controls around the area.
As the search and the morning continued, 10 more illegal immigrants were located and detained and taken to the Santanyi Guardia Civil headquarters before being transferred to Manacor where they were due to begin appearing in court yesterday evening.

The Guardia Civil search continued last night and more arrests were not being ruled out.
The Local Police and a group of local volunteers were also involved in combing the coastline and farmland.
The nationalities of the immigrants remained unconfirmed last night because none were carrying any form of identification, but in one of the boats, police found Arabic writings and the two vessels are suspected of having set sail from North Africa.

Since 2006, 13 boats of illegal immigrants have reached the Balearic coast - the last was intercepted 75 miles off the south coast of Majorca in January of this year.

As a result, state-of-the art maritime control radar have been installed along the south coast of Majorca, Ibiza and Minorca as part of the battle against illegal immigration and drug trafficking but it appears that the two boast slipped through the net yesterday morning.


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