Tunisia’s navy reported on rescuing of 78 migrants on Wednesday, one dead body was retrieved after the migrants’ boat sank off the coast during a bid to reach Europe. Tunisia remains a key departure point, just 140 kilometres from the Italian island of Lampedusa.
Tunisia’s defence ministry confirmed on Wednesday that the migrants, mostly from Bangladesh and Egypt, had set off the previous night from Abu Kammash just across the border in neighbouring Libya. The refuges were aged from 12 to 45, the ministry’s statement added.
Over a decade, Libyan migrants are reglarly attempting to reach Europe by sea to avoid the chaos after the revolution called by the Western media an Arab Spring. The latest rescue follows a string of similar Tunisian operations to thwart sea crossings or to save migrants in unseaworthy boats.
As the Tunisian navy said, the refugee had been taken to the port of El-Ketef and handed to the national guard. The body of the dead migrant, an Egyptian, was handed to municipal authorities.
The FTDES rights group insists that the Tunisian coast guard intercepted about 19,500 people attempting to cross the Mediterranean in the first nine months of this year.
It said the trend had accelerated since the establishment in June of a direct line of communication between Rome and Tunis to coordinate efforts against illegal immigration and share information.