At least 73 bodies have been recovered since a precarious vessel with more than 180 migrants on board shipwrecked on the southern coast of Tunisia last Sunday, in the worst accident of this nature in the world. The Mediterranean since last February, reported the Interior Ministry today.
According to the source, the bad weather conditions have made it difficult for the relief services, which believe that there could still be around 60 more bodies in the sea.
Added to this is the delay in identification work since only 44 bodies have been delivered to their families while another 20, allegedly of migrants from sub-Saharan Africa, will be buried anonymously today, according to local press.
Faced with this situation, the Tunisian Forum for Economic and Social Rights (FTDES) today launched a protest in the centre of the capital to demand a greater commitment from the Tunisian Government, which was attended by a score of relatives of victims of other shipwrecks.
“We warned the government that the problem was only getting worse: the economic and social difficulties are still there and the traffickers are still working, the problem persists: youth no longer have hope in this country,” its president, Masoud Romdhani, told Efe.
According to the International Organization of Migration (IOM), migrants would have paid between 770 and 1,000 euros to venture into a small fishing boat, with capacity for 90 people, who left the island of Kerkennah at night and two hours later launched the call for help when it was only 5 miles from the coast.
According to the testimonies of several rescued, the captain ordered “get rid” of some of the passengers to recalibrate the weight and balanced the boat until overturned, taking flight with his two accomplices in a second boat.
Kerkennah is the main city of departure for the Italian island of Lampedusa, which is only 160 kilometres away, although the departure of irregular immigrants to Europe is less frequent in Tunisia than in neighbouring Libya and Algeria.
As on this occasion, most of those who venture into the sea are Tunisian unemployed young people who seek a future hope in the face of the acute economic crisis that their country suffers and that has put at risk the only democratic transition that has survived the asphyxiated ” Arab springs. ”
Given the seriousness of the accident, Tunisian Prime Minister Youssef Chahed on Wednesday dismissed Interior Minister Lotfi Brahem.
Less than 24 hours earlier, Brahem had dismissed ten senior security officials in the framework of an open investigation after the shipwreck, including the head of the secret services of the Kerkennah district and the head of the National Guard of the neighbouring port of Sfax…
The Tunisian Government has committed itself to strengthening the fight against the criminal networks that traffic in the Mediterranean, whose activity supposes a “national drama”, and has ordered an increase of the patrols and the improvement of its equipment.
In the last hours, two traffickers have been arrested in possession of 19,000 euros during a police operation.
For its part, the Foreign Ministry summoned the Italian ambassador on Monday after the statements of the newly appointed Italian Interior Minister, Matteo Salvini, who accused the Maghreb country of “exporting criminals” and promised to expel half a million immigrants in Italy. the next five years.
Source: La Vanguardia