At least 29 African migrants have died after a boat carrying them capsized off the coast of Mahdia, Tunisia. The Romdhane Ben Amor, an official at the Forum for Social and Economic Rights (FTDES), reported that the boat had set off from Sfax beaches and that the Tunisian coast guard was able to rescue five people from the vessel. This is the second vessel to sink within hours off Tunisia, bringing the death toll to 29.
Additionally, Italy’s ANSA news agency reported that more than 2,000 asylum seekers had arrived on the Italian island of Lampedusa within 24 hours, describing it as a “record”. In the past four days, at least five boats carrying refugees and migrants have sunk off the southern city of Sfax, leaving 67 missing and nine dead. The coast guard has stopped about 80 boats heading for Italy in the past four days and detained more than 3,000 people, mostly from sub-Saharan African countries.
According to United Nations data, at least 12,000 people who reached Italy this year set sail from Tunisia, compared with 1,300 in the same period of 2022. This is due to a campaign of arrests by Tunisian authorities of undocumented sub-Saharan Africans, as Libya was previously the main departure point for refugees and migrants.