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Wednesday, September 1, 1999 Published at 15:54 GMT 16:54 UK

World: Africa

Coral causes Comoran boat to capsize

At least thirteen people are feared dead after a boat capsized as it tried to reach the French-administered island of Mayotte, in the Indian Ocean.

The boat is reported to have been carrying would-be migrants from the island of Anjouan which broke away from the Comoros islands in 1997, seeking to return to French rule.

French coastguards rescued seven people and recovered a body after the boat hit a coral reef, but the rest of the passengers are now thought to have drowned.

The BBC correspondent in the Comoros says many people have died trying to cross the fifty-kilometre stretch of water between Anjouan and Mayotte. The authorities in Mayotte have been trying to prevent illegal immigration to the island.

Identity checks have been introduced and there are frequent raids on houses suspected of sheltering immigrants.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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