Tunisia arrests suspected smuggler behind deadly shipwreck

Tunisia's interior ministry says that at least 87 people died in tragedy


Afp June 23, 2018
PHOTO AFP

TUNIS: Tunisia on Friday said it has arrested a suspected people smuggler who organised a doomed sea voyage in which 87 migrants were killed when their overloaded fishing vessel sank.

The boatload of illegal migrants had taken off on June 2 from Tunisia heading for Europe when the tragedy occurred.

Survivors said there were at least 180 people on board when the fishing vessel began to sink near Tunisia's Kekennah Islands off the southern coastal city of Sfax.

The interior ministry said that at least 87 people died in the tragedy — 66 of them Tunisians, 20 from sub-Saharan Africa and one Libyan — while 68 were rescued. Search operations are still underway.

Tunisia women march for same inheritance rights as men

Ministry spokesperson Sofiene Zaag on Friday told AFP that the mastermind of the voyage had been arrested as he tried to flee Kerkennah in the boot of a car.

He said the suspect is a 32-year-old from Kerkennah.

Following the shipwreck, Tunisia's interior minister Lotfi Brahem and 10 security officials were sacked.

The June 2 shipwreck was one of the deadliest in the Mediterranean since February 2, when 90 people drowned off the coast of Libya, according to the International Organization for Migration.

Ambassador calls for increased trade between Pakistan, Tunisia

The IOM said that at least 112 people had died when the fishing vessel sank.

Tunisians and other migrants regularly try to cross the Mediterranean to seek a better future in Europe.

Nearly 6,000 migrants have attempted the dangerous sea crossing from Tunisia since the beginning of the year, according to former interior ministry spokesperson Khlifa Chibani.

COMMENTS

Replying to X

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.

For more information, please see our Comments FAQ

E-Publications

Most Read