Tunisia: 13 dead and 9 missing in the sinking of a migrant boat

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Umpteenth drama of emigration in the Mediterranean. Bodies of migrants were recovered on Monday after the sinking of a boat off the coast of Tunisia on Sunday, bringing the toll to 13 dead and 9 missing, according to the Sfax court.

Already Sunday, seven people, five men and two women, had been rescued off Sfax, a city in central-eastern Tunisia. According to the spokesperson for the Sfax court, Mourad Turki, eleven bodies were found at midday on Monday, and two others were found in the afternoon.

32 crossings prevented in one night

The boat was carrying 29 people, including two Tunisians and people from various countries in sub-Saharan Africa, according to the comments of survivors reported by Mourad Turki.

Among the bodies found were seven women aged 20 to 30 and three children, including one under six months old. The body of one of the two Tunisians, originally from Sfax, was also recovered. Research is continuing, Mourad Turki said.

After a peak in departures from Tunisia in 2011, followed by a sharp drop, attempts at illegal emigration have increased again since 2017, the country being shaken by political instability and hard hit by the novel coronavirus pandemic which has resulted in soaring unemployment.

The Interior Ministry announced on Sunday that it had prevented 32 illegal crossings overnight from Saturday to Sunday and arrested 262 people aged 15 to 44, including two nationals of sub-Saharan African countries.

More than 8,000 people intercepted in nine months

At the risk of their lives, thousands of migrants regularly attempt to cross the Mediterranean in clandestine boats, trying to reach Europe where they hope to find work and prospects.

Since the beginning of 2020 and until mid-September, 8,581 people have been intercepted while trying to reach Europe by sea from the Tunisian coast, according to statistics from the Ministry of the Interior. Of these, 2,104 were foreigners.

During an August visit to Tunis, Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio warned that there would be no more room for migrants who arrived illegally in Italy, after announcing repatriation operations for Tunisians in from August 10.

Original article by : www.leparisien.fr

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