PM hails Ben Guerdane battle as Tunisia 'turning point'

At least 55 of the assailants were killed, along with 13 members of the security forces and seven civilians. Tunisia, which was the scene of several bloody IS attacks, has since been spared any major extremist violence.

PM hails Ben Guerdane battle as Tunisia 'turning point'

World Bulletin / News Desk

The battle against extremists in the town of Ben Guerdane a year ago marked a "turning point" for Tunisia, Prime  Minister Youssef Chahed said Tuesday on a visit to commemorate the anniversary.

Extremist groups mounted a coordinated assault on security installations in the town on the border with Libya on March 7, 2016, aiming to win over the local population and establish an "emirate" of the ISIL extremist group, according to Tunisian authorities.

"March 7 is no longer an ordinary day in Tunisia. It has a symbolic value," the prime minister said at a ceremony held under tight security.

"To the inhabitants of Ben Guerdane, the town of resistance, your victory in the March 7 battle, the victory of security agents, of our soldiers, marked a turning point in the struggle against terrorism," said Chahed.

He announced several projects for Ben Guerdane, which is located in southern Tunisia that has suffered neglect by central authorities.

The town of 60,000 inhabitants lives off trading, mostly smuggling goods across the border with chaos-strewn Libya.

"I have a message for our politicians: they haven't delivered on even one percent of their promises," said a brother of Abdelatti Abdelkarim, a victim of last year's attacks, echoing local distrust of the authorities.

"What we did (on March 7, 2016), that was to protect our country, our children, not for you," he said on Shams FM radio.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 08 Mart 2017, 14:46