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Fears rise that Tunisians may face assaults across Africa

March 6, 2023 at 12:33 pm

Tunisian President Kais Saied in Djerba Island, Tunisia [Mohamed Mdalla/Anadolu Agency]

Tunisian students are being stopped from leaving an airport in the Ivory Coast, a video circulating online appears to show, raising fears that the Tunisian community may be subjected to assaults and violence across Africa following President Kais Saied’s speech .

Media outlets and social media platforms circulated a video of Tunisians making a “distress call” after they were prohibited from leaving Abidjan airport days after Saied’s speech in which he spoke of a conspiracy to settle African immigrants in Tunisia and change the country’s demographics.

A number of activists said they held the Tunisian authorities responsible for what is happening to Tunisians in a number of African countries, while others demanded diplomatic efforts be taken to protect citizens abroad and to defuse the tension caused by Saied’s speech.

Ivory Coast, along with Mali, began evacuating their nationals from Tunisia, with two planes carrying about 300 nationals from the two countries took off on Saturday after many reported being assaulted following the president’s speech.

There have been calls for the suspension of Tunisia’s membership of the African Union as a result of the crisis.

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