Friday March 01, 2024

17 Tunisians missing on way to Italy

442 migrants rescued off Libyan coast in past week: IOM

Published : 13 Feb 2024, 00:24

  DF News Desk
File Photo: Xinhua.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) on Monday said that 442 migrants were rescued off the coast of Libya in the past week, reported Xinhua.

IOM said in a statement that from Feb. 4 to 10, 442 migrants were intercepted and returned to Libya, including 68 women and 25 children.

So far this year, a total of 1,004 illegal migrants have been rescued, while 16 died and 73 others went missing off the Libyan coast.

In 2023, the total number of rescued and returned stood at 17,190.

Because of the insecurity and chaos in the country since the fall of late leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, many migrants, mostly Africans, chose to cross the Mediterranean Sea to European shores from Libya.

Meanwhile, seventeen Tunisian illegal migrants have gone missing while sailing to Italy, the private radio station Mosaique FM reported on Monday.

"The group of 17 Tunisian migrants left the coast of Cap Angela in the northern province of Bizerte late at night on Feb. 5 in an attempt to cross the Mediterranean to enter Italy illegally," Houcemeddine Jbabli, the spokesman of the Tunisia National Guard, was quoted by Mosaique FM as saying.

Jbabli added that some of the 17 individuals' families reported losing contact with them after they entered Italian waters.

The search for the missing illegal migrants is still underway, Jbabli said without giving further details.

Tunisia, located in the central Mediterranean, is one of the main departure points for illegal migrants heading to Europe. Despite the strict measures taken by the Tunisian authorities, illegal immigration from the Tunisian coast has been on the rise.