A total of 1,600 African migrants made their way to the Canary Islands over the weekend, the Spanish authorities said. The overwhelming majority were young men. The islands lie about 100 kilometres from the closest point on the mainland, in Morocco.

So far this year there have been more than 11,000 irregular arrivals in the Islands, up from 2,557 during the same period last year. On Saturday alone, one thousand illegals arrived on Saturday. In 2006 a record 30,000 African migrants landed in the islands.

Since then, both Spain and the European Union have tried to stem the flow by sending funds to West African countries to stop the migrants leaving, to little effect.