Tunisia: Navy Recovers Seven Bodies From Mediterranean Sea

The bodies of seven people thought to be migrants have been found off the coast of eastern Tunisia. Meantime, the country’s coast guard says it has prevented 18 planned migrant crossings to Italy in the past two days.

The Tunisian navy recovered seven bodies – thought to be migrants – on Tuesday evening (August 15) in the sea not far from Tunisia’s Kerkennah Islands, officials said. 

The deaths appear to have happened as the migrants were attempting to journey across the Mediterranean to Europe. The discovery was reported on Wednesday, but it remains unclear when the people died, dpa reported, citing a court spokesperson in the nearby coastal town of Sfax.

The Tunisian National Guard announced on Wednesday that it had meanwhile prevented 18 planned migrant crossings to Italy in the past two nights, adding that 630 people, the majority from sub-Saharan countries, had tried to leave Tunisia. The national guard also said 20 suspected smugglers were arrested.

Sfax becomes deadly migration departure point for Europe

The deaths of several migrants were also reported in Tunisia earlier this week. At least five people died and seven others were reported missing after their Europe-bound boat sank off the country’s coast, according to officials in Sfax.

Sfax court spokesperson Faouzi Masmoudi said “35 people, most of them Tunisians,” including women and children, were on board the boat that went down “shortly after departing from the coast of Sidi Mansour” near Sfax, AFP reported.

The deaths include at least one child, according to Masmoudi, who added that “23 people have been rescued” and that their boat sank “less than an hour after departure.”

Sfax is situated about 130 kilometres from the Italian island of Lampedusa. The eastern Tunisian coastal town has emerged as a major hub for migrants from across Africa wanting to reach Europe.

According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), over 1,800 people have died this year in shipwrecks on the central Mediterranean migration route – the world’s deadliest. That figure is more than twice as many as last year, the IOM reports.

Source : Info Migrants

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