751 migrant crossing attempts halted from January to April

The Tunisian Coast Guard said it intercepted and blocked 751 attempts of irregular departures from its coast in the first four months of 2024.

From the beginning of the year to April 30, the Tunisian Coast Guard blocked 751 attempted operations by migrants to depart from its coasts off the sea area of Sfax. The Direction of the Tunisian National Coast Guard shared this information in a press release on May 12, adding that during the same period, 21,545 migrants were rescued at sea, marking an increase compared to the previous year.

In the period from January to April, authorities registered 1,967 irregular arrivals by land, while 21,462 migrants were blocked from entering Tunisia (there were 5,256 in 2023), according to the press release.

According to the same source, the people arrested on charges of being involved in different ways in the organization of irregular sea and land crossings were 529. Over 261 were investigated during the first four months of the year. In 2023, those arrested for smuggling were 203 and 121 were under investigation.

An increase was also noted in the number of requisitions carried out in 2024. Authorities confiscated 636 engines, 308 boats, 146 automobiles, 158,503 Tunisian dinars, and 8,225 in foreign currencies. Last year, in the same period, the number of seizures totaled 364 engines, 219 boats, 58 automobiles, and a sum of 166,193 Tunisian dinars, in addition to 12,060 in foreign currencies.

These figures appeared the day after those according to which a total of 2,500 migrants from various African Sub-Saharan countries had returned voluntarily to their countries of origin since the beginning of year, assisted by the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

The figure was shared by the Direction of the National Tunisian Guard on Facebook, specifying that many Sub-Saharan migrants without documents contacted the police and the National Guard asking migrant organizations operating in Tunisia to helpr them repatriate.

“A coordination was established with the diplomatic offices for migrants, and a strategic plan to guarantee their return to their countries of origin, including the flight. The last of which was on 9 May boarding 166 migrants without documents to the African continent”, explains the statement.

“The voluntary return of migrants takes place in various phases: the police forces shelter those migrants who wish to take part in the Assisted Volunteer and Reintegration Program (AVRR), the they go through the IOM, and lastly there is the coordination with the border police to set the flight times,” as written in the press release on May 11.


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