Skip to main content

Tunisia to call up reservists in bid to bolster election security

Recent security scares have promoted Tunisia to authorise a reservist call up to help secure upcoming elections
Tunisia's reservists will be called up to help guard the October and November vote (AFP)
By
Tunisia on Friday announced plans to call on army reservists to secure upcoming elections and said it will shut down Internet sites suspected of links to "terrorism".
 
Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa has authorised the funds "to call up army reservists in order to contribute to securing upcoming elections", a government statement said.
 
After months of political wrangling, Tunisia's parliament last month approved 26 October as the date for legislative polls and 23 November for a first round of a presidential election.
 
Questioned by AFP, a government spokesman was unable to say how many reservists would be called up, or what tasks the army would undertake to ensure that the elections are trouble-free.
 
Jomaa's government will also "take steps to shut Internet sites linked to terrorism, and pursue those who use them," the statement said.
 
A government source said these measures would target mainly web pages that belong to "takfiri" jihadist militant groups "who incite killings of army personnel and security forces".
 
Since the 2011 revolution that toppled Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, Tunisia has been rocked by violence blamed on hardline Islamists who were suppressed under the former strongman. 
 
Security forces have been hunting down al-Qaeda-linked jihadists since late 2012 in the remote Mount Chaambi region near the border with Algeria.
 
The militants have launched bloody attacks on the army.
 
In July, suspected jihadists killed 15 soldiers in the area, the bloodiest day in the army's history.
 
On Thursday the interior ministry said it had dismantled five "terrorist" groups and arrested 21 suspects who were plotting attacks.