Tunisian authorities foiled 70,000 migrants in 2023

Tunisian authorities foiled 70,000 migrants in 2023

Reports in Tunisia found that those who attempted to enter the country illegally had skyrocketed this year despite President Kais Saied’s anti-immigrant remarks in early 2023, according to AFP.

The Tunisian head claimed in February that immigration, mostly turning his attention to black Africans, was a plot aimed at changing the country’s demographics as well as demanding that the authorities clampdown on the “high number” of “illegal migrants”. 

The Tunisian National Guard (national civilian police)  told the AFP that 69,963 migrants were intercepted from January to November  2023 compared to 31,297 in the same period last year. 

As well as Libya, Tunisia is a departure hotspot for migrants attempting to reach European shores with the hope of a better life in the continent. 

Most of those foiled were caught on Tunisia’s eastern coastline close to the city of Sfax, just over 100km away from the Italian island of Lampedusa, a popular destination that migrants from the North African region attempt to get to. 

READ: Tunisia returns €60 million to EU over migration spat

In July, the North African country signed a deal with the European Union in which the bloc gave the country over 100 million Euros to establish stronger border forces in addition to 600 million Euros to help their lacklustre economy. 

The goal of the partnership was to crack down on the high numbers coming into Europe from the country. 

In statements made in Brussels, the European Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson said, “Over the last two months, we have seen a drop of approximately 80-90 percent in departures from Tunisia,” although she noted that, “Unfortunately, we are seeing an increase in departures from Libya instead,”  

Tunisian political analyst and security expert Khelifa Chibani declared that migration into Europe peaks during the summertime given that it is easier to cross The Mediterranean then. 

The commissioner highlighted the progress that Tunisia was making with regards to irregular migration but claimed, “Of course, there are still many things to do, our cooperation with Tunisia is broader than just the migration issue. And including in the field of migration, more must be done,”  



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