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Tunisia 'rescues' 100 Europe-bound migrants at sea

All the migrants were from sub-Saharan African nations, the ministry said

AFP , Monday 24 May 2021
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A Tunisian naval boat on Monday rescued 100 migrants, including eight infants, from an inflatable vessel that was attempting an illicit Mediterranean crossing to Europe, the defence ministry said.

The vessel had set off "at dawn from the Libyan coast (carrying) 82 men, 10 women and eight babies", but it was intercepted by a Tunisian navy patrol boat off Zarzis, the ministry said in a statement.

"They were in danger, the engine on the boat had broken down," ministry spokesman Mohamed Zekri told AFP.

All the migrants were from sub-Saharan African nations, the ministry said.

Those on board were taken to a Tunisian maritime base at Sfax.

Tunisia is a key departure point for migrants attempting the dangerous crossing from the North African coast to Europe.

Italian Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese said last week a hotline would be established between Rome and Tunis to counter irregular migration, amid a spike in arrivals at Italy's Lampedusa island.

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