Tunisia’s government says it has arrested a man behind a key syndicate engaged in smuggling migrants.
The arrest confirmed on Friday is taking place after the drowning of at least 87 people off the country’s southern coast this month.
The over 87 people drowned when their boat sank off Kerkenna island. The boat hoping to reach Europe set off from the island.
Dozens of people were rescued by the coastguard during the disaster.
How was the suspect arrested?
Tunisia’s defence ministry says the man behind the syndicate was arrested on Friday together with another man.
The suspects accomplice, a military man is a business partner. He tried taking them out of the town of Kerkenna in his car.
“The security forces arrested the main organiser of the illegal immigration operation in Kerkenna,” the Interior Ministry said, according to Reuters.
Smuggling routes in North Africa
North African countries like Libya and Tunisia have become a safe haven for human traffickers.
From these countries they take advantage of migrants hoping to reach Europe.
Tunisian officials say they have over the past five months stopped about 6,000 migrants leaving its coast for Europe.
But Libya remains the main departure point for migrants fleeing wars and poverty to reach European countries.
Six people have been sanctioned by the United Nations for human trafficking offences and smuggling of migrants in Libya.
The sanctions were imposed after Russia backed an earlier request for action against the individuals.
The U.N sanction against the six individuals will affect their assets as well as they facing travel bans.