Tunisian security forces have stepped up their activities against irregular migration, AnsaMed reports.
Italian interior ministry sources say that this came after the activation of a “direct line of communication between the Italian and Tunisian authorities for the rapid exchange of information on boats carrying irregular migrants departing from the North African country’s coasts and on criminal activities connected with this phenomenon”.
The Tunisian Coast Guard has thwarted “eleven unauthorized attempts to cross the maritime border and rescued 231 people”, according to a Tunisian interior ministry statement, noting that among the migrants were 104 from several African countries, while the rest were Tunisian nationals.
Units from the National Guard have also arrested 58 people in Aghir, Djerba, and Sfax while they were preparing to “cross the maritime borders in an irregular manner”.
The Tunisian navy on Tuesday also blocked a “clandestine operation of 34 people of African nationality” between the ages of 17 and 40, including 20 women and 4 children, who were onboard a large boat that weighed anchor from the Sfax coast and was experiencing difficulties off Chebba.
The news was reported in a Tunisian defense ministry statement that also reported another operation that enabled the rescue of 23 people, most of whom Ivorian nationals, including 10 women and three children, some 50 km off Chebba.
Those rescued said that they had departed from the Sfax coast five days before.
The two groups of migrants rescued have been transfered to the Sfax naval base and the Monastir port to be handed over to the National Guard unit. They will undergo all required procedures and be reported to the judiciary.