Over 845 Tunisian migrants including 93 minors arrived in the migrant reception centre on Lampedusa from October 10-14, the Tunisian secretary of state of immigration and Tunisians abroad, Adel Jarboui, has said. “The centre currently hosts 751 Tunisians, 733 men and 18 women”, he added. Jarboui also said a delegation would be visiting Italy next week to look into the situation and provide the migrants with the necessary support. The visit “will also be an opportunity to identify, together with the Italian authorities, possible resources for combating illegal migration,” he continued. Separately, Jarboui said investigations continue into the recent ramming of a migrant boat by a Tunisian navy vessel off the coast of Tunisia in which 45 people are known to have died.
“The families of the victims and of the people who are still missing following this tragedy will receive psychological and social support,” he said. As of September 30 the Tunisian coast guard had arrested 1,468 people since the start of the year for attempted irregular immigration, compared to 938 over the same period in 2016. 13% of the people arrested were aged between 15 and 20, 66% between 20 and 30 and 18% between 40 and 60. 5% of the migrants were women compared to 1% last year. “The government will make efforts to encourage young people to keep away from trafficking networks that try to spread false news,” Jarboui said. The new wave of migration is partly due to false information circulating on Facebook claiming the Italian authorities have decided to regularise the migrants’ situation, he explained. Socio-economic factors such as low spending power and the lack of family, cultural and institutional support for young people are also responsible. The secretary of state spoke out against the lack of a communication strategy that could make young people aware of the risks of irregular migration, which costs an estimated 2,000-7,500 dinars depending on the boat taken. (ANSAmed).