Five people have died and the fate of 28 others is unknown in the shipwreck with irregular migrants off the coast of Tunisia.

Romdan Ben Omar, an official with the NGO Tunisian Forum for Economic and Social Rights (FTDES), said the coast guard rescued five castaways and recovered five bodies in the sea off the city of Sfax. He underlined that the boat was “overloaded” with 38 migrants, mainly from the Ivory Coast, who wanted to reach the Italian island of Lampedusa.

The latest tragedy in the Mediterranean comes a month after an incendiary speech by Tunisian President Kais Sayed, who attributed the increase in migration flows from sub-Saharan Africa to a conspiracy to change the demographic composition of his country.

At the same time, he accused irregular immigrants of being responsible for the rise in crime. President Sayed’s comments sparked a wave of violence against the migrants, hundreds of whom are camping on the streets of Tunis.

About 21,000 immigrants from sub-Saharan African countries are estimated to be in Tunisia today, a country with a population of 12 million.