Tunisia finds bodies of pregnant migrant, toddler after boat sinks

A representative of the Tunisian Red Crescent association checks bodies recovered from a boat carrying 86 migrants that capsized off the Tunisian coast while crossing the Mediterranean from Libya to Italy, as they lie on a beach in Aghir in Tunisia’s southern island of Djerba on July 6, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 07 July 2019
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Tunisia finds bodies of pregnant migrant, toddler after boat sinks

  • The number of bodies retrieved from the water has reached 15The number of bodies retrieved from the water has reached 15
  • The latest tragedy came to light the same week as 44 migrants were killed in an air strike on their detention center in Libya

TUNIS: Tunisia’s Red Crescent said Sunday three more bodies had been retrieved off the country’s coast, including those of a pregnant woman and toddler, days after a boat carrying scores of migrants sank.
“The number of bodies retrieved (from the water) has reached 15,” said Red Crescent official Mongi Slim.
The bodies of a three-year-old and two women, one pregnant, were recovered Saturday night off the island of Djerba in southern Tunisia, Slim said.
On Saturday the Red Crescent said 12 bodies had been retrieved by the coast guard from waters off southern Tunisia that morning.
Including the corpse of a woman that the National Guard said it found on a beach off Zarzis on Friday, the total number of bodies recovered since the boat sank on Monday stands at 16.
A Malian survivor told the UN’s migration agency that 86 people had been on board the dinghy, which capsized.
“People were terrified as water started pouring in, some of them fell into the water. They stayed down there,” survivor Soleiman Coulibaly told AFP.
Flavio Di Giacomo, a spokesman for the UN’s International Organization for Migration, tweeted on Thursday that “about 80 migrants are feared dead.”
The Red Crescent and the navy said three Malians and an Ivorian were rescued on Wednesday by the coast guard, who had been alerted by local fishermen.
The Ivorian, however, died in hospital and one of the Malians has also been hospitalized in intensive care.
The boat tipped over only hours after setting out to sea from the Libyan town of Zuwara, west of Tripoli, with the intention of reaching Italy.
Libya has in recent years been a major departure point for migrants seeking to reach Europe across the Mediterranean.
Rights groups say migrants face horrifying abuses in Libya, with many held in squalid detention facilities.
An air strike Tuesday on a migrant center in the capital Tripoli killed at least 53 people, according to the World Health Organization.


Dead body business attracts medics, drug dealers in Egypt

Egyptian Christians stand outside St. Markos Church in Minya, south of Cairo, Egypt, in this Jan. 6, 2015 file photo. (AP)
Updated 16 min 41 sec ago
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Dead body business attracts medics, drug dealers in Egypt

  • Some of the gravediggers remove tissues and grease from the bones by boiling them to remove their odor before selling them to students

CAIRO: The Egyptian Orthodox Church has issued a statement condemning the theft of the body of the Patriarch Gerges, son of priest Ibrahim Al-Basit, from his family’s burial place in the Minya governorate.
Last Saturday, the cemetery was opened and Al-Basit’s body was stolen. The crime of stealing the bodies of the dead has recently spread across Egypt, especially while the sanctity of the body remains preserved. It is also common for the remains to be collected two years after the burial.
Last October, a gang was arrested after stealing bodies from their graves. An investigation has revealed that the main defendant sold the bodies to medical students for practical learning.
Some of the gravediggers remove tissues and grease from the bones by boiling them to remove their odor before selling them to students.
The investigation found that the defendant had put a price on various limbs. The leg and the arm were priced at 3,000 Egyptian pounds ($180), the skull cost 5,000 pounds and the whole body was worth 20,000 pounds.
Ashraf Farahat, a legal expert and lawyer, said that Egyptian law demands up to five years of imprisonment and a fine of 100-500 pounds for criminals who violate the sanctity of graves.
Yasser Sayed Ahmed, a legal expert and lawyer, said he knew of many cases where cemetery guards and assistants help people access graves for superstitious reasons in exchange for large sums of money.
The majority of these cases are happening with the help of the guards of the tombs. They exhume graves at night to extract the bodies and separate the organs to sell bones and skulls. They often sell them to drug dealers by grinding and mixing some materials for sale at high prices.