Sat, 03 Jun 2023

At least five migrants from sub-Saharan Africa drowned and another 28 are missing after their boat capsized off Tunisia. The sinking is the latest such tragedy in the Mediterranean, the world's deadliest migration route.

"Five migrants' bodies were recovered and five other migrants were rescued, but 28 are still missing," said Romdhane Ben Amor of the Tunisian Forum for social and economic rights (FTDES).

He said the boat had sunk "because it was overloaded" with 38 people, mostly from Cote d'Ivoire.

The boat had set off from the coastal region of Sfax in the direction of the Italian island of Lampedusa, a popular launchpad for people escaping war and persecution across Africa to try to reach safety in Europe.

The sinking comes a month after President Kais Saied made a speech accusing migrants from sub-Saharan Africa of representing a "plot" against Tunisia and causing a wave of crime.

Tunisia's Saied denies racism charge as Ivorians repatriated, students study online

His comments sparked a wave of violence against black migrants, and landlords fearing fines evicted hundreds of people who are now camping in the streets of Tunis.

Migrants, many of whom fear they will face violence if they go home, have called on the United Nations' refugee agency UNHCR to evacuate them.

Around 21,000 migrants from sub-Saharan Africa are believed to be in the country of 12 million people.

(with wires)

Originally published on RFI

More Italy News

Access More

Sign up for The Italy News

a daily newsletter full of things to discuss over drinks.and the great thing is that it's on the house!