29 migrant bodies found after 3 boats capsized: Tunisia's coastguard
11 illegal migrants of various African nationalities were rescued after their boats sank.
The bodies of 29 migrants from sub-Saharan African countries were recovered after three boats capsized, said Tunisia's coastguard on Sunday, adding yet another tragedy to a series of migrant tragedies at sea.
Shipwrecks have left dozens of migrants dead while others remain missing in the country that serves as a starting point for migrants seeking to reach nearby European shores.
The incident comes after President Kais Saied made a speech last month where he accused sub-Saharan Africans of causing a crime wave in Tunisia, saying that they represent a "demographic threat" to the country.
The coastguard issued a statement on Sunday announcing that it had "rescued 11 illegal migrants of various African nationalities after their boats sank," adding that there were three separate sinking boats.
One of the incidents reported recovering 19 bodies 58 kilometers off the coast after their boat capsized.
Eight bodies were also recovered by a coastguard patrol of the coastal city of Mahdiya, where they also rescued 11 other migrants after their boat sank while on its way to Italy.
A spike of violence is faced by Black migrants in the country ever since President Saeid gave his speech. As a result, hundreds have become homeless for weeks as they suffer from increasingly desperate conditions.
People have been escaping poverty and violence in Sudan's Darfur region and West Africa, alongside other parts of the continent for years, and used Tunisia as a springboard for their perilous attempts for better lives in Europe.
Italy applies pressure
The Italian island of Lampedusa, 150 kilometers off the Tunisian coast, is described as the most deadly in the world by the United Nations.
Rome applied pressure on Tunisian authorities to try to control the flow of people and helped beef up the coastguard, which was described as violence by rights groups.
Italy's hard-right Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni warned that Tunisia's "serious financial problems" risked sparking a "migratory wave" toward Europe.
Meloni reiterated comments made by Josep Borrell, European Union's foreign policy chief, earlier this week, in which he warned that Tunisia risks economic collapse which may trigger a new flow of migrants heading toward Europe.
Tunisia has been facing a series of socio-economic crises amid spiraling inflation and high levels of unemployment. It is noteworthy that Tunisians themselves make up a large portion of the migrants who are traveling to Italian shores.
Tunisia is negotiating with the International Monetary Fund for a $2 billion bailout package. The deal has been stalled for months and shows no promising outcomes.
As such, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned on Wednesday that "the economy risks falling off the deep end" unless an agreement is reached.