Tunisian security forces yesterday foiled an attempt to cross the country’s maritime border from the coast of El Haouaria, local media reported.
Smugglers were on board a rubber boat which was heading for Italy in the aim of picking up 11 migrants in Tunisia, including a minor.
The spokesman of the General Directorate of the Tunisian Maritime Guard (Gendarmerie), Hossam Eddin El-Jabbabli, said that the coast guard in El Haouaria detained four people, while the smugglers escaped after jumping into the water.
According to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), Tunisia has rapidly become an immigration and transit country, with migrants coming mainly from the Maghreb and from Sub-Saharan Africa whose aim is to reach Europe through irregular migration from the Tunisian coasts. More than 25,500 Tunisians took to the sea in the aftermath of the fall of president Ben Ali’s regime in 2011 with the hope of finding work or joining their families or friends in Europe.