14 Feb 2011

Italy may send police to Tunisia to deter immigrants

3:09 pm on 14 February 2011

The Italian government is considering sending police in Tunisia to tackle a sudden wave of immigration.

Interior Minister Roberto Maroni says Europe is not doing anything to help stop the flow of migrants.

More than 4000 migrants are reported to have arrived on the island of Lampedusa in the past few days which is only 113km from Tunisia, the BBC reports.

Italy has declared a humanitarian emergency and called for European Union assistance.

Mr Maroni said the Tunisian system was "collapsing" and accused other EU states of leaving Italy to deal with the situation alone.

Tunisia is still in turmoil since the overthrow of President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali on 14 January.

On Friday, Mr Maroni and Foreign Minister Franco Frattini requested an immediate deployment of Frontex, an EU border security agency, to patrol off the Tunisian coast.