At least five people have died and 10 others have been reported missing after a boat carrying migrants sank off the Tunisian coast as it tried to cross the Mediterranean to Italy.
Five migrants from sub-Saharan Africa have drowned and 10 more are missing after their boat sank off Tunisia en route for Europe, authorities said.
The Tunisian coastguard rescued around 20 others from the Mediterranean on Saturday, according to Faouzi Masmoudi, the district attorney from the port city of Sfax.
Boats were continuing to scour the waters off Sfax for any more survivors, Masmoudi added.
Parts of the Tunisian coastline lie less than 150 kilometres from the Italian island of Lampedusa, making for favoured departure points for migrants ready to risk the dangerous sea crossing.
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More than 23,500 migrants of various nationalities were intercepted off Tunisia between January and September last year, according to the FTDES rights group, which tracks migration issues.
More than 500 people died or disappeared in the same area during the same period, it said.
The coastguard is under pressure to stem the flow but lacks the means to do so, according to Tunisian authorities.
The so-called central Mediterranean route, which also includes boat launchings from neighbouring Libya, is the world's most deadly migration pathway.
According to the the latest United Nations report, nearly 1,400 migrants died crossing different parts of the Mediterranean in 2022.
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