Tunisia: capsized boat leaves 13 migrants dead, 27 missing 


After boarding a fragile metal boat made of scraps hastily welded together, 13 Sudanese migrants died, while 27 others remain missing according to AFP

On February 8th, the migrants departed from Jebiniana, a small town near Sfax, heading to Europe, when their boat capsized off the coast of Tunisia. 

Farid Ben Jha, the spokesman for the court in the coastal city of Monastir, said an investigation was then opened. He stated that the migrants were likely “exploited in a human trafficking case or in the formation of a criminal group to reach Europe illegally”. 

He added that only 2 out of the 42 migrants who were on board survived.  

Trying to escape a war-torn Sudan, the victims were all asylum seekers who had registered with the United Nations refugee agency. 

The central Mediterranean route from North Africa to Italy is one of the most dangerous passages in the world. Tunisia and Libya are the main departure points for thousands of irregular migrants who risk their lives every year in the hopes of reaching better lives in Europe.

READ: 41 dead as migrant boat capsizes in Tunisia 

According to the IOM’s Missing Migrants Project, the annual number of migrant deaths and disappearances in all the Mediterranean jumped from 2,048 in 2021, to 2,411 in 2022, and to 3,041 by the end of 2023.   

Tunisian authorities intercepted 69,963 irregular migrants in the first 11 months of 2023, more than double the same period in 2022, according to statistics shared by the National Guard. 

The search for the missing passengers is still underway.



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