Video shared online shows a Tunisian National Guard helicopter making low passes over a group of migrants from Sub-Saharan Africa. The National Guard said the incident in August was targeting people smugglers.
Social media users have widely shared a video allegedly showing Tunisian National Guard helicopters flying at a very low altitude close to Sub-Saharan migrants in the Tunisian desert.
The video was reportedly shot three weeks ago, and on September 6th, National Guard spokesman Houssemeddine Jebabli confirmed its validity. According to Jebabli, these operation primarily targeted criminally-active Tunisian smugglers who were known to be in the region.
According to Tunisian official, they were flying their helicopters at a low altitude close to Sub-Saharan migrants in the Tunisian desert because of “attempted attacks on authorities”, as some “individuals” attempted to light a Guards National vehicle on fire.
He continued, “During the recent period, Tunisian officials have started tracking down illegal migrants and smugglers, halting an average of 18 attempts to enter the land border everyday.
The Tunisian National Guard, asked, “After all these aggressions, do you want us to welcome them with flowers?”
Since a migration crisis began in Tunisia on July 3rd, many migrants from Sub-Saharan Africa have left the cities and moved to the desert to avoid deportation buses and increasing racist attacks.
President Saied’s controversial comments regarding Sub-Saharan African immigrants in February ignited anti-black prejudice in Tunisia and led to deadly violence.. Over 1,000 black migrants were allegedly sent to desert regions after it. When Tunisia and Tripoli agreed to split responsibilities for migrant care in August, thousands were returned to Libya’s harsh detention facilities. A €1 billion agreement was reached by Tunisia and the EU to handle irregular migration, but there are no specific rights or protections for Sub-Saharan migrants in the agreement. Tunisia is now a major entry point for people trying to travel to Europe. The situation of these migrants in Tunisia has not been addressed by the EU yet.