A boat carrying 40 African migrants sank in the Mediterranean Sea

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As many as 20 migrants have been confirmed dead after a boat carrying them sank in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Tunisia, officials say.

Tunisian coastguards recovered bodies from the coastal city of Sfax in central Tunisia on Thursday.

A search is under way for at least 20 other people still missing and five were rescued.

The boat, carrying about 45 people was said to be from sub-Saharan Africa and was bound for Italy.

Many of the migrants are from sub-Saharan Africa fleeing the economic crisis and crisis in their home countries.