Body count hits 68 since migrant boat sinking off Tunisia

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 / ANIS MILI)
Updated 11 July 2019

Body count hits 68 since migrant boat sinking off Tunisia

  • Libya has in recent years been a major departure point for migrants seeking to reach Europe

TUNIS: The Red Crescent said 38 more bodies were recovered Thursday from the sea off Tunisia, raising to 68 the number found since an Italy-bound boat filled with migrants sank last week, the worst migrant boat disasters to date.
Thirty-six of the apparent victims were found close to Zarzis in southeast Tunisia and two off the nearby island of Djerba, the Tunisian Red Crescent’s Mongi Slim said.
A Malian survivor, one of only three to have escaped with their lives, has told the UN’s International Organization for Migration that 86 people had been on board the dinghy which capsized on July 1.
“Only today, the Coast Guard recovered 38 bodies off the coast of Zarzis, bringing the death toll to 58,” said Mongi Slim, an official of the Tunisian Red Crescent.
The boat, filled with mostly African migrants, tipped over shortly after setting out from the Libyan town of Zuwara, west of Tripoli, with the aim of reaching Italy.
Tunisian fishermen rescued four people who were on board the same overcrowded boat but one later died in hospital, the UN refugee agency UNHCR said last week.
Libya has in recent years been a major departure point for migrants seeking to reach Europe in perilous journeys across the Mediterranean.


South Sudan says will host peace talks between Sudan and rebels

Updated 13 October 2019

South Sudan says will host peace talks between Sudan and rebels

  • Hamdok will meet rebel leaders from the Sudanese states of Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile

JUBA: Sudanese Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok will attend peace talks in the South Sudan capital Monday with rebel leaders from several Sudanese states, said official sources in Juba.
“Tomorrow’s meeting is to mark the launching of Sudan’s peace talks,” Ateny Wek Ateny, spokesman for South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir, told AFP Sunday.
Hamdok, who was only appointed in August in a deal between the army and the opposition, will meet rebel leaders from the Sudanese states of Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile.
Kiir, who just a few weeks ago signed his own peace deal with rebel leader Riek Machar, offered to mediate between Sudan and the rebels back in November 2018.
This new set of talks follow a first round in September when both sides agreed on a road map for the negotiations.
This week’s meeting is intended to tackle the main issues, said Ateny.
Also attending will be Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who last week won the Nobel Peace Prize, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Their presence, said Ateny, was to give the talks more weight.
A senior Sudanese delegation arrived in Juba on Sunday.
The Sudanese delegation will meet Abdulaziz Al-Hilu, leader of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N), which is active in Bule Nile and South Kordofan states. Al-Hilu will lead the rebel delegation.
This new peace initiative comes after the fall of longtime Sudanese autocrat Omar Al-Bashir, who was toppled from power by the Sudanese military in April.
Prime Minister Hamdok has been tasked with leading Sudan back to civilian rule, but he has said he also wants to end the conflicts with the rebels.
Over the years, the rebels’ conflict with Khartoum have killed hundreds of thousands of people and forced millions to flee their homes.