A sprawling caravan of migrants from central and southern America has set off through Mexico heading north towards the United States border.

Up to 8,000 people of all ages, mainly from Venezuela, Cuba and Mexico, are part of the procession following a banner which reads “Poverty Exodus”.

It comes days before US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is due to arrive in Mexico City.

Mr Blinken wants to strike new agreements to control migration.

The number of people apprehended at the US southern border exceeded two million both in the 2022 and the 2023 fiscal years.

In September 2023 alone, US Border Patrol apprehended more than 200,000 migrants crossing the US-Mexico border unlawfully, according to US Homeland Security figures.

The Christmas Eve caravan departed from the southern Mexican city of Tapachula, near the country’s southern border with Guatemala.

One Honduran migrant who joined the procession said he was escaping a criminal gang which had threatened to kill him.

José Santos told Reuters news agency: “I was scared so I decided to come to Mexico hoping I’ll be allowed to go to go to the US.”

On Friday, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said he was willing to work again with the US to address concerns about migration.

The Mexican leader is due to meet the US secretary of state on Wednesday.

The White House said in a statement Mr Blinken would discuss “unprecedented irregular migration” in the western hemisphere and identify ways the two countries would “address border security challenges”.

BBC/Simeon Ugbodovon

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