BRAZIL-Bodies of 20 Haitians found on a boat in northern Brazil

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RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil, CMC – The bodies of about 20 Haitians, believed to have died of starvation and dehydration, were discovered on a boat in northern Brazil.

The bodies were in an advanced decomposition. Fishermen alerted authorities after seeing the vessel near the town of Braganca, on Brazil’s northern coast, in the state of Para.

“According to civil police and forensics experts, there were 20 bodies. The federal police chief for Braganca, Alexandre Calvinho, said they were believed to be Haitian refugees,” police said in a statement, adding that the victims “are believed to have died of hunger and dehydration, but further analysis is required.”

“However, further investigation is needed to confirm the cause of death and the victims’ identities.”

Federal prosecutors’ office said it had opened criminal and civil investigations into the discovery.

The deepening humanitarian and security crisis in Haiti is driving a departure from the country, the United Nations migration agency said recently.

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