In Tunisia, at least 29 migrants drown in a new drama in the Mediterranean

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In Tunisia, at least 29 migrants drown in a new drama in the Mediterranean

Originally from sub-Saharan African countries , they were on board three different boats, which all capsized.

Several migrants die trying to reach Europe, as was the case in the port of Sfax, in the center of the country, in December 2020. (File photo)

At least 29 migrants from sub-Saharan African countries have drowned in three shipwrecks off Tunisia, the latest in a series of tragedies in the Mediterranean.

Twenty-nine bodies have been recovered, the Tunisian coastguard said in a statement on Sunday, adding that it had rescued 11 illegal migrants of several African nationalities after their boats sank off the coast of central-eastern Tunisia.

The press release reports three separate shipwrecks.

A Tunisian trawler has recovered 19 bodies after a boat sank 58 kilometers offshore.

Coastguard patrol has recovered 8 bodies off the coastal town from Mahdia and rescued 11 migrants whose boat heading for Italy capsized, while trawlers recovered 2 other bodies.

Several dozen migrants have died in a series of shipwrecks and others have been missing since the Tunisian president's violent speech on February 21 on illegal immigration.

Tunisian President Kais Saied is determined to put an end to illegal immigration. (File photo)

Mr. Saied had claimed that the presence in Tunisia of hordes of illegal immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa was a source of violence and crime and part of a criminal enterprise aimed at changing the demographic composition of the country.

After this speech, many of the 21,000 sub-Saharan African nationals officially registered in Tunisia, most of them in an irregular situation, had lost their jobs overnight, generally informal, and their accommodation, due to the campaign against illegal immigrants.

Most African migrants arrive in Tunisia and then attempt to illegally immigrate by sea to Europe, with some stretches of Tunisia's coastline being within 150 kilometers of the Italian island of Lampedusa. /p>

The Tunisian National Guard regularly reports the interception of hundreds of migrants off Tunisia on board boats smuggled to Italian shores.

< p class="e-p">President Emmanuel Macron and the Italian Prime Minister called on Friday to support Tunisia, which is facing a serious financial crisis, in order to contain the migratory pressure that this country represents for Europe.

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and French Prime Minister Emmanuel Macron believe that Tunisia must be supported.

Rome fears an explosion in the flow of migrants to its shores, favored by the economic and political difficulties in Tunisia, but also by the mild weather as summer approaches, facilitating crossings.

Tunisia has been negotiating for several months with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) a loan of nearly two billion dollars, but discussions between the two parties seem to have stalled since an agreement in principle announced in mid-October.

The head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell, for his part warned on Monday that the situation in Tunisia was very dangerous, even mentioning a risk of state collapse that could cause migratory flows towards the country. #x27;EU and cause instability in the MENA region (Middle East and Africa du Nord).

An analysis described as disproportionate and rejected by Tunis.

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