Ten African nationals, including two Sudanese citizens from the country’s western region of Darfur, were killed in clashes this week between Tunisian police and locals with the residents of a camp for refugees from Libya.
The widely-reported clashes, which occurred on Tuesday at the UN-managed Choucha camp located 7 km from Tunis’s main border crossing with Libya at Ras Ajdi, claimed the lives of ten people from different African nationalities.
Speaking from from Choucha camp, Omar Babekir, a refugee from Darfur, recounted that the clashes started after the refugees staged a protest against the bad conditions under which they lived and demanded transfer from Tunisia.
According to Babekir, who said he had lived in Libya since 2003, the Tunisian police opened fire on the protestors, leading to the killing of ten refugees and injury of dozens.
He further claimed that the local residents who participated in the clashes used sticks and iron bars to beat the protesting refugees, adding that the Tunisians had grown fed-up of refugees and demand their departure from the country.
He explained that local Tunisian citizens thought that African refugees were mercenaries who participated in defending the beleaguered regime of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.
The eye witness said that the wounded refugees were currently at the city’s hospital but denied medical treatment. “The medical staff there were not giving them any treatment and ignoring them completely,” he said.
Babekir stated that their camp holds up to 5,000 refugees from Sudan, Eritrea and Nigeria among other African countries.
He said that all tents were burnt during the clashes and that they were living without shelter or food after the looting of relief stocks brought by the WFP, Islamic Relief and Red Cross to the area.