A boat with migrants aboard heading to Italy, intercepted off the coast of Tunisia | Photo: EPA/JOSE SENA GOULAO
A boat with migrants aboard heading to Italy, intercepted off the coast of Tunisia | Photo: EPA/JOSE SENA GOULAO

Tunisian authorities in the course of two days blocked nine departures of at least 200 migrants who wanted to irregularly reach Italian coasts.

Between June 28 and 29, Tunisian authorities stopped nine illegal departures of at least 200 people headed for Italian coasts, said the spokesman of the Tunisian Coast Guard. He said eight people were placed in pre-trial detention. 


Authorities seized two boats, 43 cell phones, and about 10,000 Tunisian dinars (about 3,200 euros). 

Attempts thwarted Sunday 

Among the various operations was an attempted irregular emigration to Italy that was thwarted on Sunday by the Tunisian Coast Guard, which stopped 23 people in Mahdia, said TAP news agency, citing a security source. 

It said the owner of the boat and two mediators were arrested, and the boat was seized, along with some cash. The public prosecutor confirmed the suspects' arrests, with the exception of five minors subject to summons. 

Important human trafficker arrested 

In another operation in Hammam Lif, the Tunisian Coast Guard intercepted a boat with eight Tunisians aboard and reported them to judicial authorities. 

In a preventative operation in Sfax, law enforcement agents arrested an important human trafficker known as "al-Haji" (the emperor), who specialized in organizing illegal crossings to Italy from Sfax, Mahdia, and Monastir. 

The trafficker's brother was also arrested, along with three suspected accomplices. 

Officers also seized a boat, a car, and cash totaling 21,000 dinars (about 6,600 euros). 

In Nabeul, seven Tunisians were intercepted aboard a rubber dinghy, in the process of trying to irregularly reach Italian coasts, and were arrested by the Coast Guard.
 

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