Tension in Tunisia gives rise to outlaws



Just last month, riots broke out in Kasserine, the troubled town along Tunisia’s border with Algeria, then spread across the country and forced a nationwide curfew. Young people in Kasserine are desperate for work, and many say their only choice is to become outlaws.

Successive governments have promised jobs and investment in poorer regions like Kasserine, but they all failed to boost the local economy. In the meantime young people here face a stark choice. Stay unemployed, try to head to Europe illegally, or perhaps join the armed groups camped out in the mountains nearby.

The nearby Chaambi mountain provides a dramatic backdrop to the performance. Its beauty belies its dark influence. Chaambi is home to dozens of militants, many of them recruited from Kasserine.

The entire region has been declared a militarised zone since 2012. That hasn’t deterred young men from going up the mountain and coming down again as insurgents, ready to kill.

Kasserine is an easy recruitment ground. It’s one of the poorest towns in Tunisia.

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