The bodies of at least 29 people, many of them sub-Saharan Africans, were recovered from the Mediterranean Sea over the weekend off the coast of Tunisia, according to the Tunisian National Guard. Eleven people were rescued.
Officials say they do not know for sure how many vessels sank or how many people may have been aboard.
The migrants were trying to reach Italy, the initial landing point for many migrants on their journey to Europe, where the often-desperate travelers believe they will find a better life.
Last month, Tunisia President Kais Saied made derogatory remarks about the sub-Saharan Africans living in Tunisia, saying they were the cause of a crime wave and threatened the demographic composition of Tunisia’s Arab-Muslim population.
Saied’s remarks were denounced as “racist hate speech” by the African Union.
Some information for this story came from The Associated Press.