Tunisian authorities deport hundreds of migrants from Sfax

According to a rights group, Tunisian authorities forcibly removed hundreds of sub-Saharan African migrants from the port of Sfax on Sunday, after they had been evicted from their residences during the disturbances that occurred in July.

“The security forces on Sunday evacuated a square where some 500 migrants were assembled in the centre of Sfax,” Romdane Ben Amor, spokesman for the FTDES non-government organisation, told media.

The migrants were reportedly “dispersed in small groups towards rural areas and other towns”. as stated by the source.

Since Saturday, Tunisian authorities have been taking measures to address illegal migration, with the majority of migrants hailing from sub-Saharan African nations.

Authorities have reported the arrest of approximately 200 migrants who were allegedly in the process of preparing for an illicit boat journey to Europe.

Tunisia serves as a significant transit point for migrants and asylum-seekers embarking on treacherous sea journeys in pursuit of improved living conditions within the European Union.

Racial tensions escalated in Tunisia’s second-largest city, Sfax, after the killing of a Tunisian man on July 3, which occurred following a confrontation with migrants.

Humanitarian sources report that Tunisian security forces expelled or coerced the transfer of a minimum of 2,000 sub-Saharan Africans to desert regions near the borders of Libya and Algeria.

Xenophobic attacks against black African migrants and students surged following a provocative speech in February by President Kais Saied.

He claimed that “hordes” of undocumented migrants were contributing to crime and representing a demographic challenge to the predominantly Arab North African nation.

After his remarks, hundreds of migrants found themselves without employment and housing.

In July, a minimum of 27 individuals lost their lives, while 73 others were reported as missing after being forcibly transferred to desert regions along the border with Libya.

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