One man and dozens of others got injured this week Sunday when tribal clashes broke out in Southern Tunisia. Of the few who got injuries, some two got seriously hurt and were taken to a hospital in the town of Medenine.
Tribal Clashes Break out in Medenine and Metlaoul
According to locals in Medenine, tribal clashes broke out over a land dispute. Inhabitants of Medenine and Kebiliwere started fighting over the ownership of an area called Aïn Sekhouna. The site is located between the two governorates of Kebiliwere and Medenine and features a hot spring in the middle of the desert. Medenine and Kebiliwere are situated close to the Libyan and Algerian borders.
When clashes broke out on Sunday, Tunisian security forces were sent in to control the situation. A military unit also provided assistance to the authorities in Medenine, where they used tear gas to disperse those fighting, many of whom were armed with sticks ad shotguns. Security forces in Medenine told the official TAP news agency that they found 83 wounded. They, later on, took the individuals to nearby hospitals using ambulances from surrounding areas. Reports additionally revealed that four security officers got injured in the clashes, plus a security vehicle was ransacked.
This, however, wasn’t the first time tribal clashes have broken out in Southern Tunisia. Over the years, the region has been affected by numerous fights between communities living in the area. Another similar incident in the region occurred back in 2011. Eleven people died when tribal clashes broke out in the region. The tribal fractions began late Friday after an altercation between two youths. More than 100 people got injured during the fighting that went on for three days in the southern Tunisian mining town of Metlaoul.
Curfew Imposed in Metlaoul
Before the fighting started in the Metlaoul town in the Gafsa mining basin southwest of Tunis, the area had been reeling from high unemployment. But luckily, a local phosphate company started hiring individuals to work at their company. Violence broke out, though, when a rumor that the company favored certain tribes when hiring workers spread in the communities. Because of this, the communities in Metlaoul started fighting each other. Some used hunting rifles, firebombs, and even iron bars to hurt each other during the conflict. Additionally, Shops in the town were looted and burned down.
Due to the violence, local authorities in Metlaoul were called in with extra security forces’ assistance, and they imposed a curfew in the area. The officers managed to arrest around sixty people during their assignment. Authorities reported that the victims found dead included a father and his son who lost their lives after being attacked. Men had reportedly attacked the two with knives and sticks and left them for dead. Later on, the same men attacked a 30-year-old man and knifed him to death on the third day of the clashes.
Due to the recent attack in southern Tunisia, Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi ordered ministers of the interior and defense to hold a crisis meeting. He hoped that the groups would find a solution to the dispute in the region using legal means.