An official from the national security council said on Friday, during the first half of 2023, undocumented migrants from sub-Saharan Africa residing in Tunisia received a significant sum of three billion dinars (equivalent to approximately $1 billion).
Tunisian President Kais Saied, presiding over the meeting, expressed concern over the revelation, stating, “This figure is shocking and indicates that Tunisia is being targeted.”
In remarks that drew criticism from human rights organizations, President Saied condemned the influx of undocumented sub-Saharan African immigrants into Tunisia this year, suggesting that it was a deliberate attempt to alter the country’s demographic composition.
The amount received by undocumented migrants surpasses the revenues generated by Tunisia’s crucial tourism industry in the first half of the year, which amounted to 2.2 billion dinars.
In recent months, an unprecedented migration crisis has unfolded in the coastal city of Sfax as thousands of undocumented migrants have gathered to embark on boats operated by human traffickers to reach Europe.
In response to escalating violence between residents and migrants in Sfax, Tunisia has relocated hundreds of migrants to a remote area along the border this month.
Amid mounting pressure from both local and international human rights groups, the Tunisian government responded by relocating the migrants to shelters in two towns this week.