Tunisia prevented several departures of migrants to Italy at the start of the week, officials say. But Tunisian migrants continue to arrive on Italian shores: 71 migrants made it to the Italian island of Lampedusa on Tuesday.
The Tunisian Coast Guard in the past two days thwarted various attempts at clandestine emigration to Italy, stopping 49 people in the Sfax and Nabeul governorates, said Tunisian National Guard spokesman Houssem Eddine Jebabli in a statement.
Several migrant boats intercepted
Tunisian Coast Guard units in El Amra, Sfax, on Tuesday intercepted a boat with 14 people between the ages of 20 and 29 years aboard. The boat had reportedly been stolen on Sunday night. The people hailed from Tunis and Sfax, five of them were reportedly wanted for petty crimes. Officers also seized significant sums of money in foreign currency. The public prosecutor confirmed the arrests of eight people, and others were charged, but not taken into custody.
In Sidi Youssef in the Kerkennah Islands, the Coast Guard arrested eight people between the ages of 20 and 32 from Sfax and Gabes, and charged them with preparing an operation of illegal migration.The suspects were found with 16,000 Tunisian dinars in their possession. The public prosecutor ordered three to be taken into custody in jail and charged the others without taking them into custody.
In the Nabeul governorate, Coast Guard units intercepted a boat off the coast of Korba with 21 people aboard, including women, heading towards Italy. All of the passengers were reported to the judiciary.
The Coast Guard in Kebili on Monday arrested six Tunisian citizens travelling in a rental car who confessed they were planning to illegally travel to Italy from the coast of Kelibia. The public prosecutor confirmed their arrest and opened an investigation.
71 Tunisians reached Lampedusa, Italy
Despite the Tunisian authorities' efforts to stop clandestine immigration, migrants from Tunisia continue to arrive in Italy. On Tuesday, 71 Tunisians disembarked on the Italian island of Lampedusa. They were intercepted by an Italian Finance Police patrol boat 10 miles off the coast, and were taken to the migrant hotspot on the island.
In recent days, the 116 people left the island's migrant reception center, where they had completed their quarantine period. On Tuesday morning, 70 people who hadn't been placed in quarantine upon arrival were taken by commercial ferry to another facility where they will be placed under health surveillance.