Thirteen bodies – including six children – were found off the Tunisian coast over the weekend after two boats sank. A total of 37 shipwrecked were rescued, but 12 are still missing.
New drama before Tunisia. Two shipwrecks from migrant boats bound for Europe killed around ten people near the Tunisian side over the weekend. On Friday April 8, nine bodies, including those of four women and four children, were rejected by the sea off Sfax (centre-east), Mourad Turki, spokesman for the Sfax court, told AFP.
He said that 18 shipwrecked had been rescued, but that two other exiles were still missing.
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On Saturday April 9, four other bodies (two women and two children) were also recovered off Sfax after another boat sank, also heading for European shores with around thirty people on board. At least 19 migrants were rescued and 10 others are still missing after the tragedy, Mourad Turki said.
All occupants of the two boats were from sub-Saharan Africa, Tunisian authorities said.
The number of attempts to cross the Mediterranean to reach European shores has increased since last year.
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The phenomenon affects both migrants from sub-Saharan Africa living in Tunisia but not finding any job opportunities there, and young Tunisians leaving a country with a very bad economic situation, particularly due to the Covid-19 pandemic and political instability.
On March 16, the Tunisian Forum for Economic and Social Rights (FTDES) reported that in 2021 more than 2,700 minors crossed the Mediterranean from Tunisia to reach Italy. This is four times more than in 2017, when 561 young people reached the peninsula. This number only affects those who have successfully completed the crossing.
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In addition to minors, arrivals of all ages in Italy have increased significantly over the past year. In 2021, a total of 15,671 migrants managed to reach the country from the Tunisian coast, compared to 12,883 in the year of the pandemic in 2020. In 2017, the FTDES said there were 6,151.
The number of aborted attempts has almost doubled: the Tunisian Coast Guard intercepted 25,657 migrants attempting the crossing in 2021, compared to 13,466 in 2020.
For these exile candidates, Italy, whose admission policy is still in the trial and error stage, is the country on the European coast closest to Tunisia.