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Four migrants die of 'cold and hunger' in Tunisia

Nearly 2,000 migrants went missing or drowned last year in the Mediterranean.

THE BODIES OF four African migrants have been found in eastern Tunisia, authorities told AFP, saying they had probably died of cold or hunger after crossing the Algerian border.

“Three bodies were found yesterday and another one five days ago in Haidra, Kasserine governorate” near the Algerian border, said the region’s medical chief, Abdelghani Chaabani.

All four were men aged between 20 and 35. The only one carrying an identity document was from the Ivory Coast, he said.

The bodies were transferred to a hospital in the regional capital, also called Kasserine, for autopsies, “but it is very likely that they died of cold and hunger”, he said.

In recent years, hundreds of migrants have passed through Tunisia with the aim of making bids to reach Europe by sea.

Many head for the Italian island of Lampedusa, just 140 kilometres (less than 90 miles) from Tunisian shores.

The International Organisation for Migration says some 8,000 people have died since 2014 attempting the trip from Libya and Tunisia to Italy and Malta, known as the Central Mediterranean Route.

Tunisia and Libya, which saw uprisings in 2011 that left Tunisia in political turmoil and tipped Libya into a decade of armed violence, both saw an uptick in migrant departures in 2021.

More than 123,000 migrants landed in Italy in 2021, compared to some 95,000 the previous year, according to the UN’s refugee agency UNHCR.

Nearly 2,000 migrants went missing or drowned last year in the Mediterranean, compared to 1,401 in 2020, it says.

© AFP 2022

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