The Government of Tunisia says it has rescued 208 irregular migrants off its coast in the Mediterranean Sea in two separate operations.
"The National Guard managed on Friday and Saturday to thwart 16 illegal crossings of the maritime borders towards Italy and rescued 155 migrants aboard leaking boats," Houssam Eddine al-Jabali, a spokesperson for the Tunisian National Guard, made this known on his Facebook page.
Al-Jabali said 53 other migrants were rescued earlier on Saturday after two boats sunk off the coasts of El Ghadabna and Chebba in the country’s eastern Mahdia province.
According to the spokesperson, 38 people were arrested in a preemptive operation in Sfax, Kerkennah, and Hammamet as they were preparing for an irregular migration operation towards Italy.
For years, Maghreb countries -- Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, and Tunisia -- have witnessed attempts by migrants from mainly sub-Saharan Africa to reach Europe.