From file: The EU will offer more support to Tunisia to prevent migrants from departing for Europe | Photo: Yassine Gaidi/Anadolu/picture-alliance
From file: The EU will offer more support to Tunisia to prevent migrants from departing for Europe | Photo: Yassine Gaidi/Anadolu/picture-alliance

Tunisian authorities say they rescued a group of 108 migrants from their sinking boats on New Year's Eve. The number of migrants attempting the dangerous crossing from North Africa to Italy has been on the rise in recent months.

Tunisian naval forces rescued 108 migrants from drowning after their Europe-bound boats sank in the Mediterranean, news agency dpa reported on Sunday (January 1) citing a Tunisian official.

Those rescued during the night from Saturday to Sunday included 14 Tunisians and 94 people from other nationalities, a spokesman for the Tunisian National Guard said in a statement.

Tunisian naval units had thwarted six irregular migration attempts on New Year's Eve, the spokesperson added.

Read more: Four bodies recovered off Tunisia following migrant boat accident

More Tunisians arrive in Italy

In recent months, more migrants have been attempting the dangerous crossing from the North African coast heading to Italy.

According to non-governmental organization the Tunisian Forum for Economic and Social Rights, some 18,000 migrants from Tunisia reached the Italian coast during 2022 irregularly. Italian Interior Ministry figures are similar, and show that Tunisians were the second-largest group of migrants, followed by Bangladeshis and Syrians. Only Egyptians arrived in greater numbers.

According to UN migration agency IOM, more than 2,000 people lost their lives while making the journey across the Mediterranean Sea. The real number is likely higher, the IOM says.

Also read: Employees wanted in Europe: A Tunisian perspective

With dpa

 

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