Rome, Europe Brief News – At least 29 asylum seekers died off Tunisia’s coast while trying to reach Europe.
Tunisia’s coast guard recovered 10 bodies from a migrant boat which sank near the coast, the second vessel to sink within hours off Tunisia, bringing the death toll to 29, according to a security official.
Earlier on Sunday, a human rights group said at least 19 refugees and migrants from sub-Saharan Africa had drowned off the coast of Tunisia while trying to cross the Mediterranean and reach Italy.
Romdhane Ben Amor, an official at the Forum for Social and Economic Rights (FTDES), told the Reuters news agency that the deaths also occurred when a boat carrying the refugees and migrants sank off the coast of Mahdia after a journey that started from Sfax beaches.
He said the Tunisian coast guard was able to rescue five people from the boat.
Tunisian authorities were not immediately available for comment.
Reports of the deaths came as Italy’s ANSA news agency said more than 2,000 asylum seekers had arrived on the Italian island of Lampedusa within 24 hours.
The agency described the arrivals on Saturday as a “record”.
In the last four days, at least five boats carrying refugees and migrants have sunk off the southern city of Sfax, leaving 67 missing and nine dead.