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Record number of migrants died or went missing off Tunisia in 2023

TUNIS (Reuters) -A record 1,313 migrants were reported to have died or went missing off the Tunisian coast last year, a rights group said on Tuesday, highlighting the worsening migrant crisis in the North Africa country.

The number represented about 75% of the number of dead or missing off the coasts of Italy, Libya and Malta, Ramadan Ben Amor, an official at the Tunisian Forum for Economic and Social Rights told Reuters.

Tunisia has replaced Libya as north Africa's main departure point for people fleeing poverty and conflict elsewhere in Africa and across the Middle East in the hope of a better life in Europe.

And with improving weather since January, the influx of African migrants, including Tunisians, in boats heading for Italy has increased.

About 100 migrants have died or gone missing off the Tunisian coast since mid-January.

(Reporting by Tarek Amara; Editing by Alex Richardson and Nick Macfie)