Tunisian army rescues 81 migrants who sailed off the coast of Libya

The Tunisian Navy announced on Saturday that it had rescued 81 migrants, including a woman, after leaving the Libyan coast on a rickety boat.

Of the 81 migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean, the army said, "38 were from Egypt, 32 from Bangladesh, 10 from Sudan and one from Morocco."

The boat was found after it stumbled about six kilometers off the coast of southeast Tunisia.

The boat left on the night of May 13 to 14 from the village of Abu Kammash in the far west of Libya, near the Tunisian border, according to the testimonies of migrants aged between 20 and 38 years.

The migrants were taken to the port of El Kift, near the city of Ben Guerdane, not far from the Libyan border, where they were handed over to the Tunisian National Guard.

Meanwhile, the Tunisian authorities announced in early May that the bodies of 24 migrants had been found after their boats sank off the coast of central eastern Tunisia.

Between 22 and 30 April, four boats sank off the coast of Sfax, leading to the sinking of migrants whose bodies were recovered in the following days, while 97 were rescued.

Hundreds of migrants, mostly from sub-Saharan Africa, arrive in Tunisia with the aim of making their way to Europe via the Mediterranean, often on rickety boats.

Italy is one of the main entry points to Europe for North African migrants arriving mainly from Tunisia and Libya, from which the number of departures increased significantly in 2021.

Last year, 15,671 migrants, including 584 women, managed to reach Italy from the Tunisian coast, compared to 12,883 in 2020, according to figures from the Tunisian Forum for Economic and Social Rights.


An average of about 2,000 migrants were missing or drowned last year, compared to 1,401 in 2020, according to the International Organization for Migration. 

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