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Dhaka Tribune

Bangladeshis among 178 migrants rescued in Mediterranean

On June 24, at least 264 Bangladeshis were rescued in the Mediterranean off the Tunisian coast when they were trying to sail across the sea to Europe

Update : 28 Jun 2021, 04:15 PM

Bangladesh has again been in the global media spotlight with regard to the rescue of migrants in the Mediterranean, within a span of just four days.

Members of the Tunisian Navy on Sunday rescued 178 migrants, including an unspecified number of Bangladeshis, in the latest incident.

On June 24, at least 264 Bangladeshis were rescued in the Mediterranean off the Tunisian coast when they were trying to sail across the sea to Europe, according to the Bangladesh embassy in Libya.

With the latest, more than 500 Bangladeshis heading for Europe were rescued off the Tunisian coast in the last 90 days, according to the labour welfare counsellor at the Bangladesh embassy in Tripoli, Asaduzzaman Kabir.

Of them, some 221 Bangladeshis were rescued in the Mediterranean between May 18 and June 24.

On Sunday, the Tunisian authorities rescued the migrants, who were trying to cross the Mediterranean from Libya to reach Europe, the defence ministry said in a statement.

Two bodies were also recovered during three operations off Tunisia's south coast, the statement said.

The migrants, who the ministry said were from Bangladesh, Egypt, Tunisia, Syria, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Mali and Ethiopia, had set off from the Libyan port of Zuwara overnight Friday to Saturday.

Red Crescent official Mongi Slim warned on Thursday that centres set up to house migrants in southern Tunisia were full.

According to IOM figures, more than 1,000 migrants hoping to reach Europe had set off from Libya and ended up in Tunisia since January, and the number of departures is rising.

There have been 11,000 departures from January to April 2021 from Libya, over 70% more than in the same period last year, according to UN refugee agency UNHCR.

The agency said the "deteriorating" conditions of migrants in Libya were pushing many to make the dangerous crossing from the North African coast to Europe.

According to the UN, at least 760 people have died trying to make the Mediterranean crossing between January 1 and May 31.

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