Tunisian Interior Minister sacked after deadly migrant boat incident

Tunisian Interior Minister Lotfi Brahem (Photo: Internet)

Tunisian Prime Minister Youssef Chahed on Wednedsay fired Interior Minister Lotfi Brahem, a government statement said, after one of the worst migrant boat accidents in recent years.

The boat packed with some 180 migrants sank on Sunday off Tunisia’s coast. The death toll has risen to at least 68, with dozens still missing.

The statement gave no reason for the sacking, but a government official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said: “Chahed fired the interior minister for failing to stop the boat and illegal boat migration in general.”

Earlier on Wednesday Chaded also fired 10 security officials for failing to stop the boat. Brahem will be replaced by Justice Minister Gazi Jribi, it said.

Most of the people on board the boat that sank on Sunday were Tunisians trying to escape unemployment and an economic crisis that has gripped the North African country since the toppling of autocrat Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali in 2011.

Hundreds of people protested in the southern towns of Madenine, Tataouine and El Hamma on Tuesday evening against the poor economic conditions, residents said.

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