U.N.: Tunisian migrant death toll climbs to 112

A relative of Tunisian migrants, who drowned when their boat sank, waits outside a hospital morgue to identify the bodies of her kin, in Sfax , Tunisia, on Monday. Photo by EPA-EFE/STR

June 5 (UPI) — The number of African migrants who died over the weekend while crossing the Mediterranean Sea climbed to 112, the U.N. International Organization for Migration said Monday.

The boat was carrying around 180 people when it sank near the Tunisian coast. The Tunisian Coast Guard rescued survivors, but several were missing.

About 100 of the passengers were from Tunisia, the BBC reported.

Before Saturday’s capsize, approximately 660 people died this year while attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea. Another 32,000 people survived the crossing, usually entering Europe through Spain or Italy.

Saturday’s deadly incident sparked a political controversy between Tunisia and Italy after Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini accused Tunisia of sending “convicts” across the Mediterranean Sea, the Telegraph reported.

The Tunisian government said it had “profound amazement for the remarks of the Italian interior minister regarding immigration.”

The Tunisian government added that Salvini’s comments “do not reflect the cooperation between the two countries in the management of immigration and indicate an incomplete knowledge of the various mechanisms of coordination that exist between the Tunisian and Italian authorities.”


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