Tunisia foils migrant departure

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The Tunisian navy has arrested more than 550 Tunisian and African migrants trying to sail to Europe in September, nearly three times more than last month, official data showed.

Human traffickers increasingly use Tunisia as a launch pad for migrants heading for Europe as Libya’s coast guard, aided by armed groups, tightens controls.

Tunisia’s navy stopped boats with migrants departing from beaches in the south and north of the country, arresting 555 people in September, data showed. In August 170 people were caught trying to leave Tunisia by boat.
“We succeeded in foiling many attempts, which have increased significantly as the weather improves and smugglers promote journeys out of Tunisia are safer than other destinations,” Colonel Major Khelifa Chibani of Tunisia’s national guard told Reuters.

He said pregnant women and children were among migrants caught trying to depart by boat.