Refugees Scramble Near Sfax Following Violent Clashes with Tunisia Police : Analysis

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In the outskirts of Tunisia’s second-largest city, a 15-year-old named Osman Bah from Guinea showed his sleeping area, which is situated among the grey sand and scattered plastic bags on a wasteland. This spot is where thousands of sub-Saharan African refugees have been relocated after being evicted from Sfax’s city center. The area, known as Al Amra, is being tightly controlled by the police and national guard, who are searching for a lost gun and ammunition that were reportedly involved in clashes with the refugees. The decision to move the refugees to Al Amra has raised questions, especially considering the rising tensions between Tunisia and the European Commission regarding a migration pact signed in July. The influx of refugees from the war in Sudan and the increasing strain it has put on Tunisia’s resources and relations with Europe is of concern.

Furthermore, in February, violence against Black people erupted in Tunisia when President Kais Saied accused the refugees of bringing violence, crime, and unacceptable practices to the country. On November 24, the situation escalated in Al Amra when the police dug up the boats buried under the sand, causing a confrontation with the refugees. Videos shared on social media show injured guardsmen and claims of three deaths among the refugees. Reports of arrests and expulsions to Libya and Algeria are also emerging, although Tunisia denies these allegations. Refugees who had paid for a spot on one of the boats, like Omar from Gambia, had to watch as their hopes were destroyed by the police.

Since the incident, the region has been heavily secured, with specialized units from the national guard and police officers deployed. The local member of parliament, Fatma Mseddi, accused the refugees of terrorizing locals and being members of Boko Haram, despite the majority coming from Sudan, a location not typically associated with the armed group. There are reports of the police confiscating phones and money and even taking refugees to Libya or Algeria. According to eyewitnesses, two refugees died after falling from a rooftop while trying to escape the police.

Despite these challenges, Osman Bah remains hopeful that he will eventually make it to Europe. He recently talked to his sister in Gambia, giving him a glimmer of hope.


In terms of credibility, the sources in this article are not explicitly mentioned. However, the information provided corresponds with ongoing issues in Tunisia regarding the treatment of sub-Saharan African refugees and migrants. The article includes some firsthand accounts from the refugees and mentions videos shared on social media, which could indicate multiple sources of information.

The presentation of facts in this article is somewhat limited. It mainly focuses on the situation in Al Amra and the events surrounding the eviction and subsequent clashes with the police. It briefly mentions the tensions between Tunisia and the European Commission and the influx of refugees from Sudan. However, further context and information about these factors would have provided a more comprehensive understanding of the situation.

Potential biases in the article could arise from the author’s choice of what information to include or exclude. The article highlights the violence and tensions between the refugees and the police, which could create a narrative sympathetic to the refugees. The article also includes accusations made by a local member of parliament that paint the refugees as terrorists, potentially reflecting biases within the Tunisian political landscape.

The impact of this article is primarily informational, shedding light on the challenges faced by sub-Saharan African refugees in Tunisia. It highlights the violence, evictions, and restrictive measures put in place by the authorities, bringing attention to the difficulties and risks faced by these individuals. However, the article does not provide a broader analysis of the political, economic, or social factors that contribute to this situation, limiting its impact.

The prevalence of fake news and biases, along with the political landscape, could influence the public’s perception of this information. Individuals with existing biases against refugees or migrants may interpret the events in a way that reinforces their preconceived notions. The polarized nature of discussions around migration and the potential for misinformation to circulate on social media platforms could further distort understanding. The lack of comprehensive context in the article could also contribute to the formation of biased viewpoints or incomplete understandings of the situation.

Source: Aljazeera news: Near Sfax, refugees scramble after violent clashes with Tunisia police

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