Migrants thrown from terraces and attacked with swords during horror night

Sub-Saharan migrants were reportedly “thrown from terraces” and “attacked with swords” in Tunisia on Tuesday, July 4, as racial tensions following the death of man remain high.

Medic Lazhar Neji spoke about the night of violence targeting foreigners in Tunisia, and claimed between 30 and 40 migrants – including women and children – were subjected to the “inhumane” attack in the coastal city of Sfax.

Mr Neji made the claim on the Facebook page of non-government group Sayeb Trottoir, while he condemned the “inhumane, bloody night that makes you tremble”.

The emergency room medic said the hospital received dozens of migrants left injured during the hours of fury.

This report emerged as residents vowed to avenge the death of a 41-year-old Tunisian man after he was stabbed to death on Monday during an altercation with migrants.

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The episode led to the arrests of three suspects from Cameroon.

The incident prompted the explosion of tensions in the city, the second-largest in Tunisia and the starting point of the journey of many migrants towards Europe, with hundreds of locals blockading streets with burning tyres as they demanded the eviction of all illegal migrants.

The anger targeting migrants was also caught on videos shared on social media, including one showing police chasing dozens of migrants from their homes and loading them into police cars to the cheers of city residents.

Another clip showed migrants seemingly lying on the ground with their hands on their heads while surrounded by residents armed with sticks awaiting to hand them over to the officers.

While some of the migrants were detained, others were deported outside of Tunisia, according to Romdane Ben Amor, head of the Forum for Economic and Social Rights.

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This group, which monitors migration issues in Tunisia, denounced in a joint statement issued with 20 other Tunisian and international NGOs that on Tuesday security forces had taken a “group of 100 migrants and refugees” from the Sfax region towards the Libyan border.

The statement went on to claim: “The group comprised several nationalities, including Ivorian, Cameroonian and Guinean, including at least 12 children aged between six months and five years.”

Around 50 more migrants had been taken to the same region on July 2.

The group claimed some of them had been “beaten and ill-treated”, which called on the authorities to “clarify these facts and intervene urgently to ensure that these people are taken care of”.

Jonathan Tchamou, a young Congolese man who moved to Tunisia, admitted being “really scared” to be in Sfax.

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He told AFP: “There’s a serious problem in Sfax, a sub-Saharan migrant has killed a Tunisian citizen and as a result the Tunisian population is angry with all sub-Saharans and they are attacking them, and even the Tunisian police are trying to illegally arrest all sub-Saharans in order to send them back to the Libyan desert.

“We’re really scared to be here, that’s why we want to leave Sfax at all costs.”

Mr Tchamou was among the dozens of migrants who, after the night of violence, rushed to the train station in Sfax to leave the city.

The death of the Tunisian man contributed to exacerbating the anti-migrant climate and follows Tunisian President Kais Saied’s comments in February accusing “hordes” of illegal migrants of bringing violence to the country.

Tunisia counts approximately 12 million people on its soil and hosts an estimated 21,000 migrants from other parts of Africa, which makes them 0.2 percent of the total population. 

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