Tunisia: 1 Beninese stabbed to death in attack targeting Sub-Saharan migrants

A Beninese migrant aged 30 was stabbed to death and five other wounded in an attack by a group of Tunisians in the central eastern part of the country. The spokesperson for the Sfax court made the announcement Monday (May 29).

The attack against 19 migrants gathered in a housing in El Haffare (Sfax area) was carried out by 7 Tunisians armed with knives and sabres between May 22nd and 23rd.

The Sfax tribunal spokesperson Faouzi Masmoudi said the 5 victims from Sub-Saharan Africa had been admitted o hospital and suffered only ‘mild injuries’.

Three Tunisians aged 17, 23 and 26 were arrested and a judicial inquiry opened, Masmoudi added.

Non-governmental organizations have denounced a crime taking place in a context where “uninterrupted speeches inciting hatred and racism against migrants from sub-Saharan Africa’ [can be heard], the FTDES (Tunisian forum for economic and social rights) wrote in a statement.

According to preliminary results of the inquiry, videos show seven men attacking the migrants. The inquiry should also investigate the motives of the assailants.

“Hate speech and intimidation against migrants (from sub-Saharan Africa) disseminated on social networks contribute to mobilization against the most vulnerable groups and fuel violent behaviour against them,” 23 non-governmental organizations denounced.

Earlier this year the president linked African migrants to “violence and crimes.”

Rights groups have reported a spike in vigilante violence including stabbings of black Africans, since the President’s initial comments while migrants say they have been thrown out of their dwellings en masse and handed over to “mob justice”.

Students and economic migrants from countries such as Guinea, Mali and Ivory Coast fleeing Tunisia were repatriated in February.

The African Union issued on Feb. 25 a statement urging all member states to “treat all migrants with dignity wherever they come from” and “refrain from racialized hate speech that could bring people to harm.”

Tunisia’s Foreign ministry rejected the statement, saying it contains “baseless terms & accusations” and was built on “a misunderstanding of positions of the Tunisian authorities.”

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