By Tarek Amara
TUNIS (Reuters) -Undocumented sub-Saharan African migrants in Tunisia received three billion dinars (about $1 billion) in remittances from their countries during the first half of 2023, an official from the national security council said in a meeting late on Friday.
President Kais Saied, who chaired the meeting, said, “This figure is shocking and indicates that Tunisia is being targeted.”
Saied denounced this year undocumented sub-Saharan African immigration to his country, saying in comments criticised by rights groups that it was aimed at changing Tunisia’s demographic make-up.
The amount of the announced transfers for undocumented migrants is higher than revenues of the vital tourism industry in Tunisia during the first half of the year, which amounted to 2.2 billion dinars.
Thousands of undocumented migrants have flocked to coastal city of Sfax in recent months with the goal of setting off for Europe in boats run by human traffickers, leading to an unprecedented migration crisis for Tunisia.
Tunisia has removed hundreds of the migrants this month to a desolate area along the border, following days of violence in Sfax between residents and migrants.
Under pressure from international and local rights groups that accused the authorities of putting the lives of migrants in danger, the government moved them to shelters in two towns this week.
(Reporting By Tarek Amara and Moaz Abd-Alaziz; editing by Diane Craft)
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