Gabon-bound migrants stranded on the island of Sumba after arrival of French police
More than 50 migrants have been stranded on a remote island in the southwest of Gabon after French police arrived to rescue them.
The migrants, who were on the boat from the French island of La Réunion, were taken by helicopter to a port in central Gabon on Sunday morning.
The migrants are all wearing body armour and wearing masks, but they do not appear to have any weapons.
Some of the migrants, including some who were carrying weapons, were handed over to French authorities.
The government has appealed to the international community to help the migrants as they try to get home.
The authorities have asked for international assistance in getting the migrants home.
The Sumbas are known as a hub for illegal migration in Africa, and the authorities there say there are at least 2,000 migrants in the region, many of them African.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Monday that the migrants would be transferred to the French consulate in Nairobi and could then be returned to France, although he did not elaborate.
Gabon has become a hotspot for migrants and refugees since the start of a global migration crisis in 2015, with more than one million people reaching Europe.
The French government has said the migrant rescue operation would be carried out by local authorities and would be subject to international monitoring.
“The refugees will be transferred from the boats and will be transported by the French coastguard to a police station in Nzara, the main port of arrival,” Fabius told French broadcaster BFMTV.