Tunisian coast guards have retrieved 29 bodies of illegal immigrants after two boats sank off Tunisian coasts, Tunisian National Guard said Sunday.
Houcemeddine Jbabli, Tunisian National Guard’s spokesman, told Xinhua by phone that the two boats sank on Saturday night off the coast of Sfax province in southeastern Tunisia and Mahdia coast in the east.
“The Tunisian coast guard units in Mahdia managed last night to retrieve 27 bodies of illegal immigrants after their boat sank while trying to cross the Mediterranean towards the Italian coast,” Jbabli said.
“Two bodies of illegal immigrants were retrieved off the coast of Sfax,” he added.
A total of 11 immigrants of sub-Saharan African nationalities were rescued during the operations, and the search for the missing, the number of which was not specified, is still underway, he said.
Jbabli emphasized that those immigrants were trying to cross the Mediterranean toward the Italian island of Lampedusa.
The island of Lampedusa, the first stop usually chosen by illegal immigrants for their sea voyage toward Italy, is about 80 km away from the Tunisian coast. ■