Tunisian navy stops more than 550 migrants in September
TMP – 13/10/2017
The Tunisian navy has stopped more than 550 Tunisian and Sub-Saharan African migrants trying to sail to Europe during September, according to Reuters.
Tunisia’s navy stopped boats with migrants departing from beaches in the south and north of the country, arresting 555 people, compared to only 170 people caught in August.
“We succeeded in foiling many attempts, which have increased significantly as the weather improves and smugglers are promoting that journeys coming out of Tunisia are safer than other destinations,” Colonel Major Khelifa Chibani of Tunisia’s national guard said.
The Tunisian navy also rescued 98 Tunisians when their boat started to sink off Kerkenah on the southeast coast on 30 September, the national guard reported.
Separately, the Tunisian army said it had arrested 43 migrants rescued from four boats off Zarzis, also on the southeast coast of the country.
The reports say women and children were among the migrants rescued or stopped while sailing or embarking on an attempt to cross the Mediterranean to Italy.
As Libya’s coastguard tightens control on migration with technical and logistical support from Italy, smugglers are increasingly using Tunisia’s coast to launch migrant boats heading for Europe.
The Italian Foreign Ministry recently announced an assistance package of 60 million euros for Libya and Tunisia to help them regulate irregular migration flows.