TUNISIA: At least 17 migrants have drowned in a shipwreck off the Tunisia coast while attempting to cross the Mediterranean to reach Europe from Libya.

The Tunisian red crescent has reported the humanitarian group saying more than 160 other people were rescued by the Tunisian Coast guard.

It said the boat had set off from the Libyan Port of Zuara carrying migrants from several countries of the region and it says most of them died before they could even reach Bangladesh.

Survivors said all those who died had been in the hold of the boat because they had paid smugglers less than others, and were suffocated by smoke when the engine caught fire, according to Mongi Slim, head of the Tunisian Red Crescent