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Boat sinks off Tunisia with more than 40 Sudanese on board


At least 13 Sudanese migrants have died and 27 others are missing after their boat sank off Tunisia’s coast, a Tunisian official has said.

Only two people on board survived, while search operations were under way for those missing, he added.

It is the latest disaster to hit migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean from Africa to Europe.

Sudan plunged into a civil war about 10 months ago, forcing at least nine million people to flee their homes.

Most of them have taken refuge either in safer parts of the country, or in neighbouring states.

Some foreign governments, including the UK’s, evacuated their nationals trapped in Sudan after fighting broke out between the army and a rival paramilitary force last April.

In total 2,498 migrants died in 2023 trying to cross the central Mediterranean, a 75% increase on the previous year, according to the International Organization for Migration.

Last year, the European Union (EU) signed a deal with Tunisia to tackle irregular migration.

The deal includes $118m (£90m) to stop smuggling, strengthen borders and return migrants.

The latest disaster took place after the boat left Jebiniana, a small town near the city of Sfax.

A judicial spokesman in the Tunisian city of Monastir, Farid Ben Jha, said an investigation was under way into the incident.

The migrants were likely to have been “exploited in a human trafficking case or in the formation of a criminal group to reach Europe illegally”, he was quoted by AFP news agency as saying.

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