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1 dead after 3 migrant boats sink off Tunisia

50 irregular migrants whose boats broke down off the coast of Ben Gardane city of Medenine province in the south-east of Tunisia were rescued by Tunisian Coast Guard, in Ben Gardane city, Tunisia on July 08, 2021 [Tasnim Nasri/Anadolu Agency]
50 irregular migrants whose boats broke down off the coast of Ben Gardane city of Medenine province in the south-east of Tunisia were rescued by Tunisian Coast Guard, in Ben Gardane city, Tunisia on July 08, 2021 [Tasnim Nasri/Anadolu Agency]

The Tunisian coast guard recovered the body of an irregular migrant and rescued 97 others after their boats capsized off the country's eastern coast, the Defence Ministry said yesterday.

Three boats carrying irregular migrants sank off the coast of the city of Sfax and the Kerkennah Islands, the ministry said in a statement.

Tunisian authorities stop illegal migration attempts and arrest hundreds of irregular migrants on almost a daily basis.

For years, Maghreb countries such as Tunisia, Algeria, Libya, Mauritania and Morocco have witnessed increased attempts by migrants – mainly from sub-Saharan Africa – to reach Europe, in an effort to flee war and hoping for a better life. While some migrants reach their destination, thousands die during the journey each year.

Last year, some 3,231 were recorded as dead or missing at sea in the Mediterranean and the northwest Atlantic, with 1,881 in 2020, 1,510 in 2019, and more than 2,277 in 2018, according to the UNHCR.

READ: At least 12 migrants, mostly Syrians, drown off Tunisia in shipwreck

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