Twenty-five migrants who were trying to reach Europe illegally drowned off the coast of Tunisia, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said on Monday.

Initially, the Tunisian authorities had reported 17 dead.

Identification of the bodies in progress

“Between Friday March 18 and Saturday March 19, the bodies of 25 people washed up on the beaches of Nabeul.

The boat on which they were traveling is said to have left the Tunisian coast several days ago and had 60 people on board,” the IOM said in a statement.

"The identification of the bodies is in progress, but according to the information available, they would be migrants of Syrian and Tunisian nationality", added the organization.

17 people washed up by the sea

Civil protection spokesman in Tunisia, Moez Triaa, said on Saturday that the lifeless bodies of 17 migrants had been washed up by the sea off the coast of northeastern Tunisia.

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.

Nearly 2,000 migrants missing

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 (FTDES), which specializes in migration issues. .

Nearly 2,000 migrants went missing or drowned in the Mediterranean last year, compared to 1,401 in 2020, according to the IOM.

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

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

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  • Migrants

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  • Tunisia

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