Eleven killed in Tunisia tribal clashes

Days of fierce tribal fighting in the mining town of Metlaoui leaves several killed and almost 100 injured.

    Since Ben Ali's fall, tribal tensions have flared in parts of the country in addition to economic discontent [GALLO/GETTY]

    Eleven people have been killed and more than 100 injured in fierce tribal clashes in the southern Tunisian mining town of Metlaoui, the country's state television reported.

    The violence over the weekend led local authorities to deploy additional security forces and to extend a curfew that was imposed on Metlaoui on Saturday.

    Clashes in the town between rival tribal factions began late on Friday after an altercation between two youths.

    People fought battles with homemade bombs, guns and iron bars in the town, about 400km southwest of the
    capital, Tunis, after rumours circulated that only certain tribes would be offered jobs at the nearby Gafsa phosphate complex.

    "People are scared," Ahmed Achouri, a Metlaoui resident, told the Reuters news agency by telephone.

    "We are in a real war ... we ask for more security."

    State-run media had earlier put the death toll at seven but state television later said 11 people had been killed.

    Latest victims

    Among the latest victims were a 30-year-old man knifed to death early on Sunday and another who died of his injuries late on Saturday, local officials told the AFP.

    Also on Saturday, a father and his son died after being attacked by men with knives and sticks, and on Friday two men and a woman where shot dead in the impoverished town in the Gafsa mining basin.

    The two sides fought each other with hunting rifles, iron bars and firebombs and shops in the town were looted and burned down.

    Tunisia triggered what has become known as the "Arab Spring" when popular protests forced Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, the country's long-standing leader, from power in January.

    Since his fall, tribal tensions have flared in Metlaoui, which is reeling from high unemployment, and the country's new leaders have struggled to restore stability.

    The lengthened nightly curfew in the town will now run from 4pm (14:00 GMT) until 6am every day, the TAP state-run news agency reported.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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