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A woman just rescued by the humanitarian organisation SOS Mediterranee off the Libya coast on 26 May. More than 650 people have been recorded as dead or missing in the Mediterranean so far this year in their attempt to cross to Europe / Photo: SOS Mediterranee

Death toll from migrant shipwreck in Mediterranean rises to more than 100, says IOM

Death toll from the sinking of the boat near Kerkennah Islands has risen to 112, the UN migration agency says.

The death toll from the sinking of a boat packed with migrants off the coast of Tunisia on Saturday has risen to 112, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said on Monday.

On Sunday, officials said 46 people died when the boat capsized near Kerkennah Islands. More than 65 migrants have been rescued by coastguard.

“Among the 60 victims transferred to the forensic department at Habib Bourguiba hospital in Sfax, 48 are Tunisians … 12 are non-Tunisian, the identifications are in progress,” Lorena Lando, chief of mission of the IOM in Tunisia said in a statement late on Monday.

Security officials said the boat was packed with about 180 migrants, including 80 from other countries in Africa.

The latest shipwreck is the most deadly in the Mediterranean Sea since February 2 when 90 people drowned off the coast of Libya, according to the IOM.

Human traffickers increasingly use Tunisia as a launch pad for migrants heading to Europe as Libya’s coastguard, aided by armed groups, has tightened controls.

A survivor told AFP news agency that more than 180 people were crammed onto the boat – double its capacity – when it started taking in water and sank. About 100 of those on board were Tunisians.

In March, 120 mainly Tunisian migrants were rescued by the navy trying to reach Italy.

More than 650 people have been recorded as dead or missing in the Mediterranean so far this year, while at least 33,270 have survived the crossing to Europe.

Ken Kamara with agency reports

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