On the night of August 2nd, 1987, four explosions took place, simultaneously, in four hotels of Sousse and Monastir. Thirteen people were injured, among them foreign tourists. Islamists were the presumed perpetrators, and the synchronization of the attacks showed their strong organization amidst social crisis.
We all know what happened next. Those attacks, the day before the celebration of the birthday of then-president Habib Bourguiba in his hometown Monastir, were taken as a personal challenge by the aging head of state. He called 90 members and Islamist leaders, among them Rached Ghannouchi, to judgment. Bourguiba, who was very angry, said that heads would roll, especially Ghannouchi's .
The Ennahda party, then the Movement of the Islamic Tendency (MTI), has never claimed or admitted responsibility for these attacks. Commentators hostile to Bourguiba’s successor, President Ben Ali, often said that Ben Ali himself and his services engineered the attack, aiming to create an explosive situation in the country and make it easier for him to take power.
“Let us remember that the two persons condemned to death (Mahrez Boudegga and Boulbaba Dkhil) were not the ones who put the bombs in the hotels of Sousse and Monastir on August 2nd, 1987,” wrote Chadli. “The one who did, Fethi Maà¢toug, fled the country with the complicity of a policeman, and his accomplice, Abdelmajid El Mili, ran away too. ”
Today, two new witnesses, Sahbi Amri and Ahmed Mannaà¯, say instead that it was Ennahdha who sponsored these attacks, and Ennahda activists carried out the bombings. Mr Amri, who claims he was “in the heart of the events” in a video broadcasted by Aljarida.com, asserts that he was in contact with two leaders of the Islamist movement, Hamadi Jebali and Salah Karkar, to facilitate the departure to Algeria of the main author of the attacks: Fathi Maà¢toug. Amri offered his own car for the trip. The escape took place via the border regions situated between Kalaà¢t Senan and Aà¯n Ouedey.
Mr Amri says that he redid the same route two days later, in his car, with two other fugitives, also involved in the organization of the attacks in Sousse and Monastir, Mohamed Chemli and Abdelmajid El Mili. The operation was led by the request of the same financiers, Hamadi Jebali and Salah Karkar, and in the same conditions.
Ahmed Manaà¯ was also close to Ennahdha. His 15-year-old son, Bilel, was arrested the day after the attacks and then condemned to two and a half years in prison, along with 37 other young people of Ouerdanine. Mr Manaà¯ agrees categorically with Mr. Amri: Ennahdha was responsible for the attacks. “The leaders of Ennahdha have to apologize today to the Tunisian people,” said Manaà¯ in an interview with Monastir local radio.
In his interview, Manaà¯ said that the date of August 2nd completely changed his life. That's why he's asking today, with many other Tunisians, for the leaders of Ennahdha to have the political courage to admit their errors and apologize to their fellows.