The death toll among migrants who tried to cross the Mediterranean since 2014 has surpassed 20,000 [File: Anis Mili/AFP]

At least 20 people have died after a boat carrying dozens of migrants sank off Tunisia’s coast, according to local officials.

Sfax court spokesman Mourad Tourki said on Tuesday an investigation has been opened following the shipwreck off the Kerkennah Islands that killed people from countries in sub-Saharan Africa. 

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Tourki said a total of 53 people had set out on the boat aiming to reach Italy’s coast, adding that a search operation continued for the remaining passengers.

Last month, Tunisian authorities said at least one migrant drowned and six were missing from another shipwreck. More than 80 were rescued.

According to the United Nations refugee agency, attempts

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