The Tunisian city of Sfax has experienced nights of violent clashes between residents and immigrants, officials said
Tunisian authorities have arrested three migrants suspected of involvement in the killing of a local man in the country’s coastal city of Sfax.
A spokesperson for the judiciary, Faouzi Masmoudi, told AFP on Tuesday that the suspects, thought to be from sub-Saharan Africa, are alleged to have fatally stabbed a man in his early forties during a scuffle on Monday.
He said preliminary information indicates that all three are from Cameroon.
Police fired tear gas on Sunday to break up the clashes, which saw residents and migrants hurling stones at each other.
Tensions have been rising for months in Sfax, Tunisia’s second-largest city and a transit point for migrants attempting to reach Europe. According to Italian government data, more than 32,000 migrants, including 18,000 Tunisians, arrived in Italy illegally in 2022.
Locals often protest the migrants’ presence, accusing them of rioting and disorderly behaviour, while the migrants claim they are subjected to racist abuse.
In May, three Tunisians were arrested on suspicion of having murdered a Beninese migrant.
Official figures cited by the NGO Tunisian Forum for Economic and Social Rights suggest that there are an estimated 21,000 migrants from other parts of Africa in Tunisia, which has a population of 12 million.
Hundreds of residents rallied last month, demanding authorities deport thousands of illegal migrants, while over the past months several migrating Africans have lost their lives in boat sinkings along the Sfax shoreline.
The European commission recently offered the North African country funding to support its efforts to combat illegal migration and to restore economic stability.
Tunisian President Kais Saied has stated repeatedly that his country will not serve as a border guard for Europe and will not accept the settlement of immigrants.
In February, Saied claimed that migrants were responsible for the majority of crime in Tunis, the country’s capital, a comment the African Union condemned as “racist hate speech” that only fueled unrest.
July 04, 2023 at 11:36PM