Tunisia says sinking leaves 2 migrants dead, many missing

Migrants are seen on a boat as they approach the dock on the Sicilian Island of Lampedusa, Italy July 24, 2020. (REUTERS)
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Updated 12 October 2020

Tunisia says sinking leaves 2 migrants dead, many missing

  • The Interior Ministry said on Sunday it had stopped 32 attempts to cross the Mediterranean and arrested 262 people between the start of the year and mid-September

TUNIS: Two bodies were recovered and seven people rescued after a boat carrying dozens of would-be migrants went down off the Tunisian coast on Sunday, the National Guard said.
“A boat carrying illegal migrants was shipwrecked off Sfax ... two bodies, of a woman and a baby, were found, and seven people were rescued,” spokesman Housemeddine Jebabli told AFP.
According to initial estimates, 30 migrants from sub-Saharan Africa were on board the vessel, Jebabli said, adding that a search was underway for those missing.
He did not indicate where they had departed from. The number of would-be migrants attempting to cross to Europe from Tunisia decreased sharply from a peak in 2011.

HIGHLIGHT

The number of would-be migrants attempting to cross to Europe from Tunisia decreased sharply from a peak in 2011.

But it began rising again in 2017, driven partly by economic woes and inequality in the North African country, almost a decade after a revolution that many hoped would bring change.
The Interior Ministry said on Sunday it had stopped 32 attempts to cross the Mediterranean and arrested 262 people between the start of the year and mid-September. Two people were from sub-Saharan Africa.
Over the same period, 8,581 people were intercepted while trying to reach Europe by sea from Tunisia, the ministry said. 


Arab coalition commander renews support to Yemen

Updated 22 min 24 sec ago

Arab coalition commander renews support to Yemen

  • Assurance comes as the governor of Aden thanked it for helping local security authorities intercept a major cargo of drugs at Aden seaport
  • Yemen’s defense minister said on Wednesday that at least 800 Houthi fighters, including senior field commanders, had been killed since the beginning of this month

AL-MUKALLA: The coalition will continue backing Yemeni military forces fighting the Houthis until the country returns to normal, the commander of Arab coalition forces in the southern city of Aden has said.

During a meeting with Aden’s new governor, Ahmed Lamlis, Brig. Gen. Nayef Al-Otaibi said that the coalition would continue its support till Yemen recovered from the war and its state bodies functioned normally, Yemeni state media said on Wednesday.

The coalition’s assurance comes as the governor of Aden thanked it for helping local security authorities intercept a major cargo of drugs at Aden seaport. The governor told the Arab coalition commander that local authorities in Aden were looking forward to receiving more support from the coalition, enabling them to bring back peace and stability to Aden and fix vital services there.

The Arab coalition and local security authorities at Aden seaport recently announced a 500kg cocaine and heroin bust worth millions of dollars. The drugs were hidden inside sugar bags in a large sugar shipment originating from Brazil. There was no information about arrests in connection with the drugs bust but local security officials said that investigations were underway.

Meanwhile, Yemen’s defense minister said on Wednesday that at least 800 Houthi fighters, including senior field commanders, had been killed since the beginning of this month in fighting with government troops or in Arab coalition airstrikes.

Based on Houthi burial statements carried on their media, the rebels have buried more than 600 fighters, including 154 field leaders, since Oct. 1, in different provinces under their control. In the capital, Sanaa, the rebels have arranged funeral processions for 178 dead fighters, including 67 field commanders with different military rankings, the ministry said in a statement on its news site.

Most of the Houthi deaths occurred in the provinces of Marib and Jouf, where rebel forces are engaging in heavy fighting with government forces and allied tribesmen, backed by Arab coalition warplanes.

State media also quoted the governor of Jouf, Ameen Al-Oukaimi, as saying that government forces had inflicted a huge defeat on the Houthis during the latest intense fighting in the province. Yemeni Army commanders said that they foiled Houthis attempts to recapture the liberated Al-Khanjer military base and surrounding areas in Jouf.

In the western province of Hodeidah, the Joint Forces, an umbrella term for three major military units in the country’s western coast, said that a Houthi field military leader, Mohammed Yahya Al-Hameli, was killed during a foiled rebel assault in the province on Wednesday.

Fighting has continued across Yemen despite repeated calls by the UN and western diplomats for Yemeni factions to halt hostilities and focus on approving the UN-brokered peace initiative known as the Joint Declaration. On Thursday, British Ambassador to Yemen Michael Aron called on the internationally recognized President of Yemen Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi and the Houthis to engage in serious talks to end the war.

“President Hadi and the Houthi leadership must work seriously and urgently with the UN Yemen envoy to end the war in Yemen by concluding the Joint Declaration in order to avert a humanitarian catastrophe,” the ambassador said on Twitter.

The declaration proposes a nationwide truce ahead of the implementation of economic and humanitarian measures. When the fighting stops, the Yemeni parties will be asked to engage in direct talks to discuss postwar political arrangements.