22 migrants found dead off Tunisian coast since Saturday: court

AFP , Tuesday 23 Apr 2024

The bodies of 22 people presumed to be sub-Saharan migrants were found off the coast of the Tunisian port city of Sfax in recent days, a court spokesperson said Tuesday.

Nord
This photo provided by the Prefecture Maritime du Nord et de la Manche shows migrants continuing their journey to Britain off northern France coast. AP

 

"Twenty-two bodies were discovered in the Sidi Youssef port (off the coast of Sfax) since Saturday," Hichem Ben Ayed, spokesman for the Sfax court, told AFP.

"The bodies appear to be sub-Saharan African and were taken to a morgue," he added.

The spokesman said it remained unclear whether the dead migrants had set sail from one or more boats, providing no further details.

Tunisian authorities also said Tuesday in a statement published on Facebook that they arrested five people involved in organising irregular crossings to Europe from the coasts of Tunisia.

Tunisia, as well as neighbouring Libya, have become key departure points for thousands of migrants, often from other countries, who risk perilous sea journeys in the hopes of reaching better lives in Europe.

Located around 130 kilometres (80 miles) from the Italian island of Lampedusa, Sfax is a jumping-off point for many migrants from or transiting in the North African country.

Some 2,498 people died or went missing while attempting to cross the central Mediterranean in 2023, a 75 percent increase from the previous year, according to the UN's International Organization for Migration.

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