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'Not sure of actual death toll in Tunisia boat capsize'

  • Published at 08:57 pm May 14th, 2019
Web_Momen-KIB-Opu
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen addresses an event at Dhaka’s Krishibid Institute on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

An official team has been sent to Tunisia from the Bangladesh Embassy in Libya over the incident

Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen has said that he is not sure of the actual number of Bangladeshis dead in the boat capsize incident in the Mediterranean Sea.

"I have come to know about the figure of 37 Bangladeshis being dead in the incident from media reports. 

"But I am not aware of the official figure yet," he said responding to journalists at an event at Dhaka’s Krishibid Institute on Tuesday.

"Our ambassador has gone to the spot and he will report to us," he added.

However, on the same day, the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society (BDRCS) had confirmed the identity of 27 Bangladeshis, who drowned in the Mediterranean Sea on Friday.

Earlier on Sunday, the foreign minister said that the ministry has sent an official team to Tunisia from the Bangladesh Embassy in Libya over the incident.

Earlier on Saturday, Mongi Slim, head of Tunisia’s Red Crescent, said around 75 migrants had left Zouara, Libya by boat.

Slim told the Associated Press that only 16 people had been rescued by a Tunisian fishing boat, and 14 of them were Bangladeshis.

He said the people still missing are from Bangladesh, Egypt, Morocco, and other countries of sub-Saharan Africa.

Many Bangladeshis choose the risky way to reach Europe in hopes of a better life. A large number of them often perish at sea. At least 164 people drowned in the first four months of this year, while crossing the Mediterranean Sea from Libya to Europe, according to the UN.

Friday's accident was dubbed the "deadliest migrant boat sinking since January" by the International Organization for Migration.