PM hails Ben Guerdane battle as Tunisia 'turning point'

2017-03-07 22:04
. (File : AFP)

. (File : AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Ben Guerdane - The battle against jihadists in Ben Guerdane a year ago was a "turning point" for Tunisia, Prime Minister Youssef Chahed said on Tuesday during a visit to commemorate the anniversary.

Jihadist groups mounted a coordinated assault on security installations in the town on the border with Libya last March 7, aiming to win over residents and establish an "emirate" of the Islamic State jihadist group, according to Tunisia's authorities.

At least 55 assailants were killed, along with 13 members of the security forces and seven civilians.

Tunisia, which was the target of several ISIS attacks in 2015 in which 72 people were killed - 59 of them foreign tourists - has since been spared any major jihadist violence.

"March 7 is no longer an ordinary day in Tunisia. It has a symbolic value," the prime minister said at a ceremony held under tight security.

"To the inhabitants of Ben Guerdane, the town of resistance, your victory in the March 7 battle, the victory of security agents, of our soldiers, marked a turning point in the struggle against terrorism," Chahed said.

An analyst with the International Crisis Group, Michael Ayari, said residents and security forces in Ben Guerdane had shown "resilience, but that doesn't mean Tunisia is immune" to the jihadist threat.

The attacks in 2015 and on Ben Guerdane in 2016 were followed by stronger security cooperation with Tunisia's Western allies, especially in military equipment and on supervision of the 500km border with Libya.

Defence Minister Farhat Horchani backed up Chahed's point.

"We showed that terrorism has no future in Tunisia... So long as the state is united, that the population is united, we will defeat this scourge," he told AFP.

During his visit, the premier announced several projects for Ben Guerdane, which is in southern Tunisia that has suffered neglect by central authorities.

The town of 60 000 inhabitants lives off trading, mostly smuggling goods across the border with chaos-strewn Libya.

"I have a message for our politicians: they haven't delivered on even one percent of their promises," said a brother of Abdelatti Abdelkarim, a victim of last year's attacks, echoing local distrust of the authorities.

"What we did [on March 7, 2016], that was to protect our country, our children, not for you," he said on Shams FM radio.

Read more on:    tunisia  |  north africa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/World
 

WATCH: Man films himself going down water slide upside down as things go very wrong…

What is at first an exciting tummy-turning adventure stunt, quickly turns into a scarily bad idea caught on camera. Take a look:

 
 

You won't want to miss...

WATCH: Conor McGregor: Notorious the trailer
Best date night restaurants in South Africa
WATCH: Ryan Reynolds offers fans a free tattoo in new Deadpool 2 teaser
Should you date your co-worker?
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.