Tunisia rescues 163 asylum seekers off its eastern coast
Thousands of migrants use Maghreb countries to cross to Europe
The Tunisian navy rescued 163 asylum seekers in a boat off the coast of Sfax city, state media reported Sunday.
The asylum seekers included nine women and 16 children, Tunisia’s official TAP news agency reported, citing a statement by the Defense Ministry.
The rescue was part of a joint operation with the Tunisian Coast Guard and 162 of the migrants were Tunisian and one was Moroccan, said the ministry.
Sfax, located on the country’s east coast, is a key departure point for migrants aiming to make their way to Europe.
Tunisian authorities stop illegal migration attempts almost on a daily basis and arrest hundreds of irregular migrants.
For years, Maghreb countries such as Tunisia, Algeria, Libya, Mauritania and Morocco have witnessed attempts by migrants mainly from Sub-Saharan Africa to reach Europe, hoping for a better life. While some of them manage to reach their destination, others often die during the journey.