The Tunisian coast guard says it has recovered the bodies of five migrants whose boat sank as they tried to cross the Mediterranean to the Italian island of Lampedusa, according to Reuters.
Crews were now searching for another five Tunisians that relatives had said were also on the boat that set off this week from the southern coastal community of Zarzis, the coast guard said on Thursday.
Human traffickers are increasingly using Tunisia as a launch pad for migrants heading to Europe as the Libyan coast guard, aided by armed groups, has tightened controls.
Many Tunisian migrants say they are fleeing high unemployment and inflation – part of an economic crisis that hit after the toppling of long-time ruler Zine al-Abidine
Ben Ali in 2011.
At least eighty migrants died when their boat sank off the Tunisian coast in June, one of the worst migrant boat accidents in the North African country in recent years.