Despite the deaths in the Sahara and the Mediterranean Sea last year, including the slavery in Libya, more Africans are poised for greener pastures in Europe this year.

On Tuesday, the Head of European Union, EU border agency, Frontex Fabrice Leggeri maintained that EU’s southern borders in the Mediterranean will remain under heavy pressure from African migrants trying to reach Europe this year.

Nearly 119,000 Africans were caught trying to get to the EU last year on smugglers’ boats departing from Libya, more than 42,000 from Turkey to Greece and another 23,000 heading from Algeria and Morocco to Spain.

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“The pressure, the irregular migration pressure on our southern borders in the Mediterranean will remain at a very high level (in 2018),” Leggeri told a news conference.

While numbers on the Libya-Italy route have declined since last July as Libyan factions and authorities - under pressure from Italy and the EU - began to block departures, especially from the smuggling hub of Sabratha.

Leggeri said the crossings to Spain have more than doubled from below 10,000 in 2016.

Frontex gave a total figure of 511,000 of such crossings for 2016. In 2017, Syrians and Nigerians each made up 9% of overall arrivals, followed by nationals of the Ivory Coast, Guinea and Morocco.

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