As 17 Africans drown, two Nigerian female migrants are rescued.

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Two female Nigerian refugees on their way to Europe were rescued in a shipwreck off the coast of Tunisia. 17 other African refugees, on the other hand, were not so fortunate.

They drowned while attempting to cross the Mediterranean from Libya to Italy, according to the Tunisian Red Crescent on Thursday.

The two Nigerian women were rescued by the Tunisian coastguard in waters off the southern town of Zarzis, according to Red Crescent official Mongi Slim.

The ship set sail from Zawyia, Libya, on Sunday with 19 migrants on board.

The Nigerians were not identified.

Last month, at least 40 migrants drowned off Tunisia’s port of Sfax south of Tunis.

The United Nations said at least 300 people have perished in the central Mediterranean crossing this year while trying to get to Europe.

The U.N. refugee agency UNHCR said fewer than 23,500 people have made its across the sea to Europe this year, with most new arrivals landing in Italy and Spain from Tunisia and Algeria.

The agency estimates 633 people have died or gone missing on the way this year.

Meanwhile, Tunisia’s central maritime guard units (Sfax and Mahdia) thwarted 4 illegal border crossing operations on the night of May 12 to 13, according to the spokesperson for the Sfax maritime guard district, Ali Ayari.

The same security source specified that during this operation 55 illegal immigrants were arrested including 14 Tunisians from Mahdia and Sfax aged between 17 and 33 years old.

Other migrants arrested were from Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Mali and Togo.

Ali Ayari said security units seized 5 fishing boats and quantities of fuel that were used in attempted illegal border crossings.


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