At least 19 migrants die as boat sinks off Tunisia
At least 19 people died when their boat sank while trying to cross the Mediterranean to Italy.
A human rights group stated that at least 19 migrants from sub Saharan Africa were killed when their boat capsized off Tunisia's coast as they attempted to cross the Mediterranean to Italy.
Five migrant boats have crashed off Sfax in the last four days. This is after an increase in boats heading to Italy.
Five people were rescued by the Tunisian coast guard from a boat off Mahdia's coast after a journey that began from Sfax beaches.
Tunisian authorities weren't immediately available to comment.
According to the coast guard, it stopped 80 boats headed for Italy within the last four days and held more than 3,000 migrants, mainly from sub-Saharan African nations.
People fleeing poverty, conflict and violence in Africa and the Middle East have made the coast near Sfax their main point of departure in search of better lives in Europe.
This latest tragedy comes amid a campaign by Tunisian authorities to arrest undocumented sub Saharan Africans.
UN data shows that at least 12,000 migrants reached Italy from Tunisia this year, as compared to 1,300 who arrived in the same period in 2022. Libya used to be the main destination for migrants in the past.
According to FTDES statistics in Tunisia, more than 14,000 migrants were prevented from setting sail in boats by Tunisia's coastguard during the first three months this year, compared to 2,900 last year.
According to the Italian coast guard, it claimed that it has rescued approximately 750 migrants during two operations off Italy's southern coast.
Giorgia Maloni, the Italian Prime Minister, said Friday that Europe could see a large wave of migrants arrive from North Africa if Tunisia's financial stability is not protected. Meloni urged the IMF to quickly assist Tunisia to prevent its collapse.