Seventeen corpses of migrants who were trying to reach Europe illegally were washed up by the sea off the coast of northeastern Tunisia, civil protection spokesman Moez Triaa told AFP on Saturday.

The bodies “were found off Cap Bon.

The majority are from sub-Saharan Africa but there are also Syrians,” he added.

They were all rejected by the sea between Friday and Saturday, said Moez Triaa again without being able to give other details on their starting point or the cause of their drowning.

2,000 dead or missing in 2021

On the southern shore of the Mediterranean, Tunisia and Libya are two of the main departure points for migrants who dream of a better life in Europe, often fleeing conflict or poverty.

A total of 15,671 migrants, including 584 women, managed to reach Italian soil from the Tunisian coasts in 2021, compared to 12,883 (including 353 women) in 2020, according to the Tunisian Forum for Economic and Social Rights, which specializes in migration issues.

More than 123,000 migrants landed in Italy in 2021, compared to some 95,000 the previous year, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

Nearly 2,000 migrants went missing or drowned in the Mediterranean last year, compared to 1,401 in 2020, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

The central Mediterranean is the most dangerous migration route in the world, according to this body.

The UN agency estimates that more than 18,000 migrants have died or disappeared there since 2014.

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Miscellaneous facts

Tunisia: More than 160 migrants, including children, rescued at sea by the navy

  • Immigration

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  • Migrants

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