9 more bodies found after migrant boat sinks off Tunisia

By: AFP      Published: 09:07 PM, 12 Oct, 2020
9 more bodies found after migrant boat sinks off Tunisia

Nine more bodies have been recovered after a migrant boat sank off Tunisia, raising the death toll to at least 11 with several still missing, the National Guard said Monday.

National Guard spokesman Houcem Eddine Jebabli told AFP the nine were found in the water overnight, after the boat headed for Europe went down on Sunday off the city of Sfax.

Their nationalities and point of departure were not immediately known, and the coast guard was continuing its search.

Two bodies, of a woman and a baby, were found earlier Sunday and seven people were rescued.

According to initial estimates, 30 migrants from sub-Saharan Africa were on board the vessel, Jebabli said.

The number of would-be migrants trying to cross to Europe from Tunisia has been on the rise since 2017, driven by economic woes and political instability in the North African country, almost a decade after a revolution that many hoped would bring change.

The interior ministry has said it foiled 32 attempts to cross the Mediterranean and arrested 262 people between Saturday night and Sunday morning.

Since the start of 2020, more than 8,500 people have been intercepted trying to reach Europe by sea from Tunisia, the ministry said. They included 2,104 foreigners.