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Bodies of 17 migrants found off Tunisia coast

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The bodies of 17 migrants who were attempting to reach Europe have been found off Tunisia’s northeast coast, the civil defense said on Saturday.

The bodies washed up off Cape Bon, a peninsula on the strait of Sicily, between Friday and Saturday, spokesman Moez Triaa told AFP.

“The majority were from sub-Saharan Africa but there were also Syrians,” Triaa said, without providing details on where they had set off from or the circumstances surrounding their deaths.

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Tunisia and neighboring Libya are key departure points for migrants seeking to reach European shores.

In late February, nine migrants from various African countries drowned after their boat capsized off the Tunisian coast while they were trying to reach Europe.

Earlier this month, the bodies of four African migrants were found in eastern Tunisia, with authorities saying they had probably died of cold or hunger after crossing the Algerian border.

The United Nations’ refugee agency UNHCR has said that around 1,300 migrants drowned or went missing in 2021 on the Central Mediterranean route, making it the world’s deadliest migration pathway.

The International Organization for Migration estimates that more than 18,000 migrants have died or disappeared while attempting to make the trip since 2014.

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