Over 166 migrants stranded at the sea for nearly a week have been rescued by the Tunisian government on Thursday. Also recovering the bodies of 16 others who died attempting the dangerous Mediterranean crossing to Europe.
Tunisian defense ministry spokesman, Mohamed Zekri disclosed that the migrants, who included 65 Moroccans, 62 Bangladeshis, and 15 Egyptians, and who were aged between 15 and 48, set off from the Libyan coast overnight Friday to Saturday, adding that their boat broke down off neighboring Tunisia near the southern port of Zarzis.
While confirming the incident, the National Guard spokesman, Houcem Eddine Jebabli said16 of the group had died on board and investigations are underway to determine the cause of death.
The route between Libya and Europe is considered the most dangerous one across the Mediterranean.
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, the International Organization for Migration said last week.
Since the start of summer, the number of crossings has 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 favored springboard for migrants seeking what they believe will be a better life in Europe.