- Authorities find the bodies of 10 drowned migrants in Panama.
- The Darien Gap is one of the most dangerous migration routes in the world.
- The director of the National Migration Service issues a serious warning.
Authorities find 10 drowned migrants in the Darién jungle. The director of the country’s National Migration Service, Samira Gozaine, reported this past Wednesday that they have found at least 10 bodies they believe to be migrants submerged in the waters of the Darién jungle in Panama.
The authorities are investigating the deaths. Unfortunately, the numbers of deceased migrants have been increasing as authorities say that people continue to cross the rivers even though they are quite dangerous.
10 drowned migrants found in the Darien jungle in Panama
According to The Associated Press, the Panamanian border police reported on Wednesday the deaths of three armed men who were allegedly engaged in robbing migrants crossing the dangerous jungle of Darien, which borders Colombia.
In statements to journalists, the director of the National Border Service, Oriel Ortega, said that the three men died during a confrontation with the police on Sunday night, a short distance from the indigenous community of Bajo Chiquito. This point is the first destination for many migrants after crossing the Darien jungle for several days.
Authorities are investigating where the bodies came from
The director of the National Border Service told authorities that the deceased had indigenous features and that they are trying to determine if they are Panamanian or Colombian. In addition to this, they were found to be carrying weapons — a shotgun, two revolvers, ammunition, $420 in cash, a mobile phone, and three backpacks with personal belongings, the AP said.
It is not the first incident of this type reported by the police in that inhospitable area, where migrants have reported robberies and sexual assaults. At the beginning of April, the authorities reported the death of a Colombian and the arrest of two others who allegedly robbed migrants after a confrontation with the police.
Authorities warn migrants not to cross through the Darien jungle
The incident occurs at a time when Panamanian authorities have registered a record number of migrants traveling through Darién so far this year, with almost 170,000 crossings. It’s an «extremely high» figure compared to previous years, the director of the department National Migration Service, Samira Gozaine said on Wendnesday.
The boom is taking place despite the fact that Panama, Colombia and the United States announced a plan to stop migration through this dangerous route more than a month and a half ago, warning people to be cautious
Deaths could increase with the arrival of heavy rains
According to the AP, the director of the National Migration Service pointed out that the day before there were fewer migrants who managed to cross the jungle — around 790 — and that this could be due to higher water levels in the rivers due to the rainy season.
He said that in recent weeks at least 10 bodies of presumed drowned migrants have been recovered. “20% of that population are children, 50% of that population are under 5 years old, newborn babies. We have seen mothers with newborn babies walking the trail and exposing them to serious dangers,» reported Gozaine, according to CNN.