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At least 27 refugees and migrants die in desert after being expelled from Tunisia

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A humanitarian crisis is unfolding on the border between Tunisia and Libya, where at least 27 people from sub-Saharan Africa have died in recent days after being expelled from Tunisia and abandoned in the desert in relentless heat, according to Libyan authorities.

Libyan border guards and rights groups accuse Tunisia of expelling refugees and migrants across the frontier into a featureless wilderness far from towns or villages in the height of summer as part of a crackdown that Human Rights Watch said amounted to “collective expulsions”.

Tunisia began expelling Black African migrants and asylum seekers in July after days of violence in the port city of Sfax in which one Tunisian was killed. Locals have complained about the refugees’ behaviour while the refugees said they have been subjected to racist attacks.

Libyan border guards said an average of 150 people a day cross into Libya after being expelled from Tunisia. They said they found the bodies “in the desert [in] a vast area to the south of the northern crossing”.

 

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