Tunisian coastguard finds more bodies of migrant shipwrecks, toll rises to 33

TUNIS (Reuters) – The Tunisian coastguard has recovered eight more bodies from a migrant boat that sank off the coast of the country this week, bringing the death toll to 33, the coastguard said on Friday.

A wooden boat carrying around 110 African migrants sank off the town of Sfax on Wednesday. 76 people were rescued.

The coastguard said four other decomposing bodies were also recovered, apparently from old shipwrecks.

Drowning accidents off Tunisia have soared in recent weeks, leaving dozens dead and missing, amid a sharp surge in migrant boats heading for Italy from the Tunisian coast.

Tunisia has overtaken Libya as the main exit point for people fleeing poverty and conflict in Africa and the Middle East in hopes of a better life in Europe.

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The Tunisian National Guard said this month that more than 14,000 migrants, mostly from sub-Saharan Africa, were intercepted or rescued trying to cross to Europe in the first three months of the year, five times more than in the same period last year.

(Reporting by Tarek Amara; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

Copyright 2023 Thomson Reuters.

Brian Ashcraft

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