Thu, 01 Jun 2023

Tunis [Tunisia], March 27 (ANI): At least 28 migrants have died after their boats sank off the coast of Tunisia as they attempted to cross the Mediterranean to Italy, CNN reported citing Italian officials.

In one wreck, at least 20 migrants died and more than 60 people were missing. The Italian coast guard said they coordinated the rescue of 3300 people from 58 boats in distress in the past 48 hours, CNN reported citing the statement on Sunday.

The majority of the rescues were carried out on boats that were heading from Tunisia to Lampedusa, which is the closest Italian island to Africa. The latest disaster comes amid the arrests being made by the Tunisian authorities of undocumented sub-Saharan Africans.

On Saturday, a Tunisian fishing boat brought 19 women and 9 minors to Lampedusa after rescuing them at sea, as per the CNN report. The Tunisian fishing vessel is being investigated for abetting illegal immigration. On the Italian side, rescuers must go to a port designated by the Italian central command and cannot have multiple rescues, according to a new decree.

Tunisia has taken over from Libya as a main departure point for people fleeing poverty and conflict in Africa and the Middle East. While all of the arrivals during the weekend in Lampedusa were from boats that departed from Tunisia, the Italian interior ministry said the majority of those arriving are from sub-Saharan Africa, as per the CNN report.

According to United Nations statistics, at least 12,000 migrants who reached Italy this year set sail from Tunisia, in comparison to 1300 in the same period of 2022, as per the news report.

According to Tunisian Forum for Social and Economic Rights statistics, Tunisia's coast guard stopped more than 14,000 migrants setting off in boats during the first three months of this year, in comparison to 2,900 during the same period in 2022. (ANI)

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