Tunisian guards intercepted 2,507 migrants looking to reach the European Union (EU) through the Mediterranean Sea and arrested 62 smugglers during a four-day operation, according to Houssem Jbebli, the Tunisian National Guard spokesperson. The operation took place between September 15-18, Jbebli said yesterday, adding that among the intercepted, there were 581 Tunisians, while the rest came from Sub-Saharan Africa.
Tunisian security launched the operation in several coastal provinces including Sfax, the key launchpad for migrants headed to Italy.
Last week, Tunisia said that it has mounted a large-scale security operation to halt human traffickers and curb the high number of people being taken on the treacherous sea journey to Europe from its coast.
The EU recently negotiated an agreement with Tunisia, which facilitates financial aid of up to $980 million, dependent on Tunisia’s efforts to take stronger action against people smugglers and irregular crossings.