12 dead after 4 migrant boats sink off Tunisia
12 African migrants died and another 10 are missing after 4 boats sank off Tunisia while attempting to cross the Mediterranean to Italy.
A security official told Reuters on Saturday that four boats carrying 120 African migrants sunk off the coast of Tunisia as they attempted to cross the Mediterranean to Italy.
According to Ali Aayari, a lieutenant colonel of the Tunisian Coast Guard, 98 migrants were rescued off the coast of Sfax.
Sfax's shore has become a key departure point for migrants escaping violence and poverty in Africa and the Middle East in search of a better life in Europe.
The interior ministry said last week that it apprehended almost 20,000 migrants off its coast last year. In 2021, at least 15,000 will have arrived on the Italian shore.
Dozens have drowned off the Tunisian coast in the last months, particularly from Tunisians and Libyans attempting to cross to Italy.
According to data from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), over 123,000 migrants arrived in Italy in 2021, compared to 95,000 in 2020.
In December, 48 migrants trying to reach Europe from Libya were rescued by Tunisian coastguards.
In February, The Tunisian defense ministry had rescued 163 would-be migrants off the east coast of the country
In Lebanon, a child died and 48 people were rescued Saturday after a boat carrying around 60 migrants sank off Tripoli coast, where deadly sea crossings have spiraled due to the country's economic crisis.