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10 Sudanese among 81 migrants rescued in Mediterranean

May 15 - 2022 TUNIS
An inflatable boat carrying migrants intercepted in the Mediterranean (File photo: Libyan Coast Guard)
An inflatable boat carrying migrants intercepted in the Mediterranean (File photo: Libyan Coast Guard)

The Tunisian Navy says that it rescued 81 migrants from a ‘barely seaworthy’ vessel, six kilometres off the country’s northern coast on Saturday.

The navy said that it boarded the damaged vessel, which had set out in an attempt to reach Europe, from the coastal village of Abu Kammash, close to Tunisia’s border with Libya. The navy statement says that a total of 81 migrants were rescued, including a woman.

They include 38 from Egypt, 32 from Bangladesh, 10 Sudanese and one Moroccan, all aged between 20 and 38, that navy reports. The migransts were all were handed over to the national guard for processing.

Tunisia and Libya are key departure points for migrants seeking to reach Europe, often at the hands of unscrupulous traffickers in unseaworthy boats. Sinkings and drownings occur frequently.

On April 9, 18 Sudanese migrants drowned in the Mediterranean after a boat with 20 migrants on board took water and sank; two passengers survived and only four out of the 18 bodies were recovered. A boat with 90 migrants on board, some of whom were Sudanese, sank the previous week.

The International Organisation for Migration said at least 192 migrants drowned on the central Mediterranean route in the first two months of 2022.

More than 2,930 migrants were intercepted and returned to Libya. Upon return, they are transferred to government-run detention centres, where abuses and ill-treatment are rife.

Large numbers of migrants have been victims of human trafficking groups who detain them, torture them, and hold them hostage for ransom.

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