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Migrant boat sinks off Tunisia, 41 dead

·1-min read

Forty-one migrants have died after their boat sank off the Tunisian coast, the United Nations says.

Three people aboard were rescued.

The boat sank off the coastal city of Sfax on Thursday evening, the International Organisation for Migration and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said on Friday

Initially, coastguard officials said 20 migrants from Sub-Saharan Africa had drowned.

A spokesman for the local coastguard, Ali al-Ayari, said the bodies of 10 men, nine women and a baby had been recovered.

The Tunisian coast has become a common launching point for thousands of migrants seeking a better life in Europe.

At least 39 migrants from two boats died last month and at least 60 died in June last year in boats that sank off the coast of Sfax.

Every year, thousands of migrants risk the dangerous crossing from Tunisia and Libya to Europe.

In 2019, more than 1200 people died in the process, according to the IOM.

At least 12,000 migrants crossed from Tunisia to Italy in boats last year, according to the Tunisian Forum for Economic and Social Rights.