Tunisia rescues 81 migrants headed to Europe from Libya
Tunisia's navy says it rescued 81 migrants who boarded a damaged boat headed to Europe from Libya.
Migrants who had set out for Europe from Libya were rescued by the Tunisian navy on Saturday.
The navy said that they rescued 81 migrants sailing on a damaged boat that was boarded around six kilometers off Tunisia's northeastern coast.
The boat carried 38 Egyptians, 32 Bangladeshis, 10 Sudanese, and a Moroccan, all aged between 20 and 38. They had set off from a village close to the Libyan border with Tunisia and are thought to be headed to the Italian island of Lampedusa, which is only about 130 km from the Tunisian coast.
Migrants trying to reach European shores regularly use Tunisia and Libya as key departure points, often using damaged vessels.
Libya's authorities arrested 542 people last month attempting to illegally migrate from its shores to Europe in inflatable boats; most were from Bangladesh, according to an AFP photographer.
In 2021, close to 2,000 migrants drowned or went missing in the Mediterranean, the world's deadliest migration route.
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 April, a child died and 48 people were rescued in Lebanon after a boat carrying around 60 migrants sank off the Tripoli coast; the authorities say two dozen people remain unaccounted for. The deadly sea crossings have spiraled due to the country's economic crisis.
Also in April, four boats carrying 120 African migrants to Italy capsized off the coast of Tunisia.