Approximately 40 Tunisian migrants on a quest to reach Italy via the Mediterranean Sea have mysteriously disappeared, with no trace for the past five days, as revealed by the Tunisian National Guard on Tuesday.
Originating from the city of Sfax, situated on Tunisia’s central east coast, the migrants set sail overnight from last Wednesday to Thursday, a perplexing incident highlighted in an official statement by the national guard.
Concerned relatives, losing communication with their loved ones, promptly alerted the guard. In response, a comprehensive search, employing significant resources, was initiated in a desperate attempt to locate the missing individuals.
The eastern region of Tunisia, coupled with Libya, stands as the primary embarkation point for numerous irregular migrants seeking refuge from conflicts or dire economic conditions, all in pursuit of enhanced opportunities in Europe.
Statistical data shared by the National Guard disclosed that, in the initial 11 months of 2023, the count of irregular migrants intercepted by Tunisian authorities soared to 69,963, more than doubling the corresponding figure from 2022.
Of this staggering number, 77.5 percent comprised foreigners, predominantly hailing from sub-Saharan Africa, while the remainder represented Tunisian nationals.
The surge in departures from Tunisia follows a fervent address by President Kais Saied condemning hordes of illegal migrants as a demographic menace to the nation.
Alarming figures from the International Organisation for Migration lay bare the grim reality, reporting that over 2,270 individuals lost their lives attempting to traverse the central Mediterranean in 2023—an alarming 60 percent increase compared to the previous year.