Fourteen bodies of migrants, having perished in the sinking of a boat off Tunisia, were recovered on Saturday, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
“The bodies of 14 people, including a child and a woman, were found on the coast of the Libyan town of Zawiya” (45 km west of Tripoli), said in a tweet, Ms. Safa Msehli, responsible communication at the IOM office in Libya.
For its part, the Tunisian Red Crescent said at least 43 people are missing after the sinking of a boat carrying 127 migrants off the coast of Tunisia.
“84 migrants were rescued and 43 others disappeared after a boat carrying 127 migrants sank off Zarzis”, a town in south-eastern Tunisia, on the night from Friday to Saturday, said the director of the he Red Crescent branch in Medenine (south-east), Mongi Slim.
The boat had left the Libyan coast, according to testimonies from survivors collected by the humanitarian organization.
For its part, the Tunisian Ministry of Defense said in a statement on Saturday that the Navy had rescued, on the night from Friday to Saturday, “84 illegal immigrants of different nationalities”, citing Bangladesh, Sudan, Eritrea, Egypt and Chad.
The survivors, aged between three and 40, were on board a boat that sank off Zarzis, he added.
Libya is an important crossing point for tens of thousands of migrants each year seeking to reach Europe via the Italian coasts, some 300 km away.
Despite the danger of the crossing, the departures of migrants from the Libyan coast have increased in recent months.
Since the start of the year, more than 11,000 migrants have been intercepted at sea by the Libyan coast guard and returned to the country.
According to the IOM, there are now more than 4,000 people in detention centers in Libya, while thousands more are missing.
Economic instability in Libya due to the health crisis, the lull in the fighting in Tripoli and mild weather may explain the increase in attempted departures and expulsions in Libya.