July 17 (EUROPA PRESS) –
The Tunisian authorities have announced the rescue of more than a hundred migrants in two boats that began to sink off the coast of Sfax (east) after suffering unspecified problems while trying to complete the journey to Europe.
The Tunisian National Guard has indicated in a message on its account on the social network Facebook that a total of 108 people have been rescued in separate rescues, before pointing out that during the second one person threatened the agents with a knife, while another spilled gasoline on the boat.
“The second group resisted and caused chaos and commotion,” he said, before stressing that “they were controlled and transferred to a unit” of the Border Guard that later transferred them ashore. “The Prosecutor’s Office has authorized the opening of investigations for disobedience (…) and carrying weapons without a license,” she has settled.
The European Union (EU) and Tunisia signed a strategic agreement on Sunday to combat irregular migration that includes, among other aspects, the strengthening of border controls and the hardening of the fight against human trafficking.
The pact provides significant financial assistance from the EU to Tunisia to address challenges related to irregular migration, and is part of a “strategic partnership” that also encompasses economic, trade and environmental aspects.
Following the announcement, Tunisian President Kais Saied stated that “the Tunisian people have generously offered migrants everything they could offer, without limit,” and accused NGOs of “failing in their humanitarian duty, which led to misunderstandings and misrepresentations with the aim of damaging the image of Tunisia and its people”.
Tunisia has become in recent years one of the main departure points for ships trying to reach European shores. While most of the migrants embarking on this journey come from sub-Saharan Africa, there has been an uptick in the number of Tunisians trying to flee the country as the economic and political crisis deepens.
Tunisian authorities recently deported more than 1,200 sub-Saharan migrants from Sfax due to tensions between migrant groups and residents of the city, which has resulted in casualties on both sides. The decision was criticized by civil organizations.