Tunisia’s Coast Guard said it recovered the bodies of five migrants on Thursday whose boat sank as they tried to cross the Mediterranean to the Italian island of Lampedusa.
Crews have been searching for another five Tunisians that relatives said were also on the boat that set off on Monday from the southern coastal community of Zarzis, the Coast Guard added.
Human traffickers are increasingly using Tunisia as a launch pad for migrants heading to Europe as the Libyan Coast Guard, aided by armed groups, has tightened controls.
Many Tunisian migrants say they are fleeing high unemployment and inflation – part of an economic crisis that hit after the toppling of autocrat Ben Ali in 2011.
At least 80 migrants died when their boat sank off the Tunisian coast in June, one of the worst migrant boat accidents in the North African country in recent years.
Copyright 2019 Ships & Ports Ltd. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit given to www.shipsandports.com.ng as the source.