At least 9 migrants drown, 9 rescued off Tunisian coast

TUNIS, Tunisia (AP) — At least nine migrants have died after their boat sank off the coast of Tunisia, Tunisia’s Defense Ministry said Tuesday.

The bodies were recovered by the country’s coast guard while two Navy units rescued nine other migrants, some of them in critical condition. They came from different African nations, he said.

The statement did not specify how many people would be on the boat. The search was still ongoing.

The boat sank on Monday near the port of Mahdia in a region of central-eastern Tunisia, from where many people are trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea to Europe.

According to survivors’ testimonies, the migrants – aged around 25 to 30 – had left Sfax, the main city in southern Tunisia, overnight from Sunday to Monday.

According to the Tunisian Forum for Economic and Social Rights, an NGO monitoring migration issues, the Tunisian coastguard intercepted around 20,000 migrants trying to reach Europe from neighboring Tunisia or Libya last year.

Statistics from the UN refugee agency, UNHCR and the International Organization for Migration, show that at least 1,300 migrants drowned or went missing in the Mediterranean Sea last year.


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