Tunisia has rescued 166 migrants stranded at sea for nearly a week, recovering the bodies of 16 others who died attempting the dangerous Mediterranean crossing to Europe security officials said.
The Tunisian defence ministry spokesman Mohamed Zekri disclosed that the migrants, who included 65 Moroccans, 62 Bangladeshis and 15 Egyptians, aged between 15 and 48, set off from the Libyan coast overnight Friday, July 16, 2021, to Saturday, July 17, 2021.
Their boat broke down off neighbouring Tunisia near the southern port Zarzis but they were rescued on Thursday, July 22, 2021.
National Guard spokesman Houcem Eddine Jebabli confirmed 16 of the group had died on board; adding that investigations were underway to determine the cause of their death.
According to the AFP reports, the International Organization for Migration said last week that over 890 people are known to have died attempting to cross the Mediterranean so far this year, a rise of 130 percent on the same period of last year.
AFP added that since the start of summer, the number of crossings have increased as migrants take advantage of the good weather and calmer seas.
Despite being plunged into chaos after the fall of Moamer Kadhafi’s regime in 2011, Libya has become a favoured springboard for migrants seeking what they believe will be a better life in Europe.