Most of the 24 candidates for the exile found dead in the sea off the coast of Tunisia are women, and the captain of tunisia is also deceased, said Wednesday the health services, the authorities state of a shipwreck.
The fishermen had alerted the authorities after it discovered Tuesday the body floating off the archipelago of Kerkennah, near the port city of Sfax, in the center-east of the country.
“Today 24 bodies have been received” by a hospital of Sfax, said Wednesday AFP the regional director of health Ali Ayadi, adding that there were among them ” 21 women, two children and a man “.
The latter was the captain of the boat, a Tunisian 48 years, originating in Sfax, he said.
One of the women was pregnant, and the two children were aged about three years, said Mourad Turki, spokesman for the city court, which concluded that there was ” sinking “.
The research continues with the support of the navy of tunisia and the coast guard, he added.
According to testimonies collected by the authorities, the deaths were probably on board a vessel in a clandestine part of the region of Sfax in the direction of Italy in the night of 4 to 5 June, with 53 people on board.
It comes to people from sub-saharan Africa according to preliminary findings of forensic evidence, and the testimonies of other candidates to exile.
After sampling DNA, “the preparations are being made for their burial in the cemeteries of Sfax,” added Mr. Ayadi.
An investigation has been opened to identify the organizers of this illegal crossing.
“This tragedy is the inevitable consequence of the migration policy restrictive of the european Union,” said the NGO Forum in tunisia in economic and social rights, deploring ” a safe approach rather than a human management, in particular in view of the situation (…) in Libya “.
Departures clandestine of the tunisian coasts have increased by 156% between January and the end of April, compared to the same period last year, had indicated to the AFP mid-may, the High Commissioner for Refugees united nations (UNHCR).