In the wake of the recent killing of eight Tunisian soldiers on the border with Algeria, President and Commander in Chief Moncef Marzouki addressed the nation, calling on Tunisians to be united. Several soldiers were also wounded in the ambush, believed to be carried out by a group of terrorists on the Chaambi mountain.
Marzouki announced a three-day national mourning and described the incident as atrocious.
“Tunisia is targeted in its political regime, in its lifestyle, in its religion, in its moderate Islam. What happened after the assassination should bring us together so we can fight this danger looming ahead,” he said. ”Terrorists have achieved their goals by succeeding in dividing us.”
Secretary General of the UGTT, Tunisia’s biggest labor union, Houssine Abassi spoke in a press conference that was scheduled before the Chaambi events. He started the conference with a moment of silence to honor the lives of the killed soldiers.
“The same weapon that killed [Chokri] Belaid killed [Mohamed] Brahmi. The murderers are challenging us. They kept on challenging us the day of the funeral and today with the soldiers [killed at Chaambi Mountain]. Today Tunisia is still mourning Brahmi and now wakes up to the slaughter of our brave army,” he added.
Abassi expressed that recent incidents have managed to divide Tunisians and warned against falling into a scenario where more blood is shed.
In an earlier report on Monday, Tunisian radio station Mosaique FM stated that the UGTT was to call for the dissolution of the government but not the National Constituent Assembly (NCA). However, Abassi refrained from commenting on the dissolution demands during the conference given the circumstances of the Chaambi attack.
Prime Minister Ali Laarayedh, who met Monday with President Marzouki and head of the NCA Mustapha Ben Jaafar, held a presser prior to the Chaambi events. He condemned anti-government protests and announced that the government will continue its work while doubling their efforts.
After announcing that the constitution is to be finalized by the end of August and elections to be held on December 17, Laarayedh addressed the security challenges that Tunisia has witnessed since the revolution. Weapons smuggling and “too many freedoms” in the region brought on by the Arab Spring can be “used in negative ways” and are causes of terrorism, he argued.
Laarayedh reiterated that he has warned against terrorism multiple times in the past and that it will result in victims.
“There’s a general awareness of that danger…staying united is necessary,” he said.