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Tunisia: president calls on National Guard to confront ‘conspirators’

February 1, 2023 at 5:50 pm

Tunisian President Kais Saied [Tunisian Presidency/Anadolu Agency]

Tunisia’s President Kais Saied called on the National Guard on Tuesday to “confront those who conspire against the state”, it has been reported. “The enemies of the state and the enemies of the homeland cannot be spared accountability,” he insisted.

Saied’s call was made during his meeting with senior officers of the National Guard, which is part of the Interior Ministry, at El-Awaina Barracks in Tunis, according to a video recording posted by the presidency on Facebook. He did not name the people he describes as “enemies of the state, the enemies of the homeland” and even the “enemies of the Tunisian people [who] should not escape punishment.”

The National Guard officers were told by Saied: “The people want accountability, and their main demand is accountability. Your role is historical in responding to the people’s demands.”

The president added: “Your sacred duty is to hold all those who have committed crimes against the country accountable, and not a single criminal can be left without accountability. Today we are waging a national liberation battle to preserve the state.” The National Guard and the judiciary, he stressed, must play their “complete role” in confronting those who have “conspired against the state in the past and are still doing so.”

Tunisian opposition figures and groups are usually the targets of Saied’s accusations. They reject the exceptional measures that he has imposed on Tunisia since 25 July, 2021, which are largely held to be responsible for the ongoing political crisis in the country.

“The use of the military establishment in political life is harmful to the country and to the neutrality of the army and its highly regarded reputation,” warned the head of the opposition National Salvation Front, Ahmed Najib Al-Shabi, at a press conference in Tunis on Tuesday.

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