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40 migrants taken to Tunisia after boat failure

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FATHI NASRI/AFP or licensors


40 migrants were rescued aboard trying to reach Italy on Wednesday after the vessel they were in broke down.

About 100 people were on the boat, but only 40 agreed to be rescued by the Coast Guard off the coast of Tunisia, the rest decided to stay on the vessel to try and fix the boat's engine, determined to reach Italy.

The migrants came from Eritrea, Egypt, Tunis, Morocco, Guinea, Sudan and Pakistan.

"We left Libya on the way to Italy, and the boat (engine) broke, and the captain of the ship did not know how to drive the boat. So the Tunisian authorities rescued us and brought us to Tunisia and provided us with health care. Here we will go to quarantine for 14 days. Whoever wants to return to Sudan will return to Sudan, whoever wants to return to Egypt will return to Egypt, or whoever wants to return to Bangladesh can go. Thank God, everything is fine after the Tunisians saved us from this difficult situation, after we were about to lose our lives and all our goals (the objectives they are pursuing). Thank God, they put us in a safe place" said Mohamed Moujahed, migrant from Sudan in Arabic.

After being rescued by the Coast Guard, they were handed over to the Red Crescent in Ben Gardane, where they will remain in quarantine for 14 days.

In recent days, Tunisian fishermen and naval authorities have retrieved scores of bodies of drowned migrants and rescued more than 160 others.