Migrant boat sinks off Tunisia


Tunisia’s coast guard recovered five migrant bodies after a boat sank as they tried to cross the Mediterranean to the Italian island Lampedusa.

Crews were searching for five other Tunisians relatives said were on the boat that set off this week from the southern coastal community of Zarzis, the coast guard added.

Human traffickers are increasingly using Tunisia as a launch pad for migrants heading to Europe as the Libyan coast guard, aided by armed groups, tightens controls.

Many Tunisian migrants are fleeing high unemployment and inflation – part of an economic crisis that hit after the toppling of autocrat Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali in 2011.

At least 80 migrants died when their boat sank off the Tunisian coast in June, one of the worst migrant boat accidents in the North African country in recent years.