Over what appears to have been a troubled weekend in the Kasserine Governorate, nine women reportedly attacked the home of the Governor of Kasserine over unemployment rates within the region, while a number of men were arrested over their alleged support of local Islamist fighters.
The women are said to have attacked the house of Kasserine Governor, Chedly Bouallegue at 9pm last night. Speaking on Mosaique FM today, Bouallegue stated the women were from a group known as, The 78 Unemployed. During the attack Bouallegue described how the women pulled out sharp objects and threatened to commit suicide. The governor told the radio station, “I decided to ensure the safety of my family who [have now] left Kasserine. Unfortunately, it is not the first attack on my house” He stated that he wanted to see all of those involved in the attack arrested, something that does not seem to have occurred so far. Tunisia Live contacted one of the women involved in the attack who declined to comment further.
Journalist from Kasserine, Abdessalem Herchi said “the 78 unemployed group used to be composed of 79 unemployed individuals, however, one of them committed suicide. The Governor of Kasserine didn’t keep his promises to hire them.” Tensions over the issue of unemployment within Kasserine came to a head in January of this year, when the death of unemployed graduate,Ridha Yahyaoui sparked widespread protests throughout the country.
Unemployment within Tunisia has risen steadily over the past year. Joblessness reached 15.6 percent during the second quarter of this year, compared to 15.4 percent over the previous period representing a total of 629,600 people according to Tunisia’s INS (Institute of National Statistics). 37.6 percent of the unemployed are graduates with significantly more women affected at a rate of 40 percent as opposed to 19 percent of male graduates.
In the last few minutes, the Ministry of Defense have confirmed two soldiers have been injured during sweeps of Mount Semmama within the Kasserine Governorate. It is not currently clear how the soldiers sustained their injuries, but reports that they were inflicted by a mine explosion have been denied.
Mount Semmama was the site of last week’s shooting of suspected militant, Jihed Mbarki, who an unspecified number of men were arrested in connection with on Saturday, MosaiqueFM report. Speaking to Tunisia Live, Herchi said that three of those arrested had been released, while several more were still being held for questioning.
Zaineb is a journalist in the Tunisia Live newsroom. She speaks Arabic, French and English.