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Eleven killed in south Tunisia tribal clashes: Officials

The town in the Gafsa mining basin is reeling from high unemployment.



Tunis: Eleven people were killed and more than 100 injured in three days of fierce tribal clashes in the southern Tunisian mining town of Metlaoui, authorities said on Sunday.

The violence led local authorities to deploy extra security forces and impose a curfew on Metlaoui, where clashes between rival tribal factions began late Friday after an altercation between two youths.

The town in the Gafsa mining basin, 350 kilometres (217 miles) southwest of Tunis, is reeling from high unemployment and the violence was reportedly sparked by a rumour that a local phosphate company was favouring certain tribes when hiring workers.

Authorities said the victims included a father and his son who died after being attacked by men with knives and sticks on Saturday and a 30-year-old man who was knifed to death early Sunday.

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

A curfew imposed on Saturday was extended to run from 1500 GMT to 0500 GMT instead of from 1900 to 0400 GMT, interior ministry officials said.

In March a false employment offer allegedly posted by the GPC Gafsa phosphate company, which imposed tribal quotas, sparked disturbances.

The following month, two high school students were killed and 43 people hurt during violent clashes.

More than 1,000 people, mostly students, then fought each other with sticks, knives and stones outside a high school in the town of Sened, 50 kilometres east of Gafsa, according to the Interior Ministry.

In 2008, government launched a violent crackdown on strikers in the Gafsa basin after workers protested against massive layoffs by the GPC that cut the workforce from about 15,000 to 5,000 within a few months.

Bureau Report

From Zee News

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