Thursday, January 27, 2022

Tunisia intercepts over 200 migrants trying to reach Italian coast

Tunisian authorities said on Sunday that they had rescued more than 200 migrants trying to reach the Italian coast in nine separate operations.

“In the context of the fight against irregular immigration, units from the northern, southern and central regions managed to thwart nine (cross-sea) attempts”, National Guard spokesman Houssem Eddin Jebaly said.

The national guard said the blockades occurred both at sea and on the coast, aiding 223 migrants from various African countries, including 111 Tunisians.

Late last month, Tunisia’s coast guard said it had foiled six departure attempts and rescued 125 migrants from Europe, 112 of whom were from sub-Saharan Africa.

Earlier in October, four Tunisian migrants were killed and 19 others went missing when a boat capsized off the country’s east coast.

According to the UN refugee agency, more than 58,800 migrants have managed to reach Italy since the beginning of the year, most of them by sea.

More than 1,300 people died or went missing while trying to cross the Mediterranean specifically to reach Italy, Spain and Greece.

Tunisia is a major departure point for potential migrants hoping to attempt the dangerous sea crossing into Europe.

The Italian island of Lampedusa is located just 140 kilometers (less than 90 mi) off the east coast of Tunisia.

According to the FTDES rights group, the Tunisian Coast Guard intercepted some 19,500 people attempting to cross the Mediterranean in the first nine months of this year.

It said the trend has accelerated since a direct line of communication between Rome and Tunis was established in June to coordinate efforts against illegal immigration and to share information.

Since Tunisia’s 2011 revolution, political instability and socio-economic crises have made unemployment worse, which is 18% nationally but more than 40 percent among young people.

According to FTDES, the Coast Guard intercepted 42,000 people between 2011 and 2020.

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This article is republished from – Voa News – Read the – original article.

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