Page last updated at 15:25 GMT, Saturday, 8 August 2009 16:25 UK

Migrant dies in patrol boat crash

Map of Algeria

One person has died and at least 11 are missing after an Algerian coast guard vessel collided with boats carrying would-be migrants, reports say.

The collision happened off the eastern port city of Annaba after three migrant boats rejected calls for them to stop, an official told El Watan newspaper.

Those on board chanted "we'll pass or we'll die" when they were surrounded.

More than 70 people have made failed attempts to escape by boat in the past two days, Algerian radio said.

It said more than 400 people had been intercepted by the Annaba coast guard this year.

El Watan reported that two migrant boats had sunk in the stand-off with the coast guards, which began late on Saturday night.

In total 18 people were injured, including one person who had to have a leg amputated, the paper said.

Annaba is a focal point in Algeria for young, unemployed men who attempt to escape on ill-equipped boats, hoping to find a better life in Europe.

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