African migrants walked to Nicaragua, observers say

monkeys052616About 40 African migrants managed to cross the Río Colorado by boat in extreme northeast Costa Rica Wednesday morning. Then they walked unmolested by any police agencies along the Caribbean coast into Nicaragua.

Residents of the area said that the drought that has been affecting Costa Rica lowered water levels enough to make the trek possible. Residents also wondered how migrants from Africa would know this.

Although the migrants are gone, Barra del Colorado residents are worried about what they may have left behind. The Africans remained huddled in the open for some time Tuesday night and were assaulted by uncountable mosquitoes.

That means mosquitoes in the area might be carrying any diseases contracted from the migrants. One resident pointed out that although the area is coastal lowlands with the Río San Juan and Nicaragua to the north, there have been few cases of dengue or similar mosquito-born ailments.

But residents now are worried that this no longer is the case, and they point out that the African migrants underwent no health checks in Costa Rica.

Residents have contacted the Ministerio de Salud to ask for a priority assignment for a fumigation team to spray for mosquitoes in the areas.

Of course, their concern about imported diseases also is true for places elsewhere in the country where migrants are being housed.

Many have passed through deep jungle to arrive in Costa Rica.

Some Barra del Colorado residents say they are surprised that the Fuerza Pública, the Servicio Nacional de Guardacostas and the Policia Turistica did not respond physically to many telephone calls Tuesday night.

No one answered the police telephone in Barra de Colorado, but the area is near where Nicaraguan troops invaded in 2010, and there still is a heavy but hidden police presence.

The speculation is that the 40 or so migrants were the same individuals stopped by police hours earlier near Sixaola in southeast Costa Rica. They made their way north with the knowledge and perhaps the assistance of police, they suspect.

The migrants came to Barra de Colorado on a boat operated by a local who picked them up in Tortuguero. So there must have been a series of boat rides to bring the migrants that far.

And when the migrants left on foot for Nicaragua, they had to pass right by the local coast guard station in Barra del Colorado.

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