Since 25 March 2021, associations of sub-Saharan migrants have been denouncing, on social networks, a wave of attacks against them. According to France 24 and Infos Migrants, which reported the information, in the districts of Kram and La Soukra, north of Tunis, several sub-Saharan African nationals claim to have been attacked with knives by local criminals. They are demanding security measures from the Tunisian authorities.
Photos published since 25 March on social networks show bloodied sub-Saharan migrants with bandages on their arms or compresses on their heads. And according to the captions accompanying these images, they are the latest victims of a wave of « targeted » attacks against nationals of sub-Saharan countries who live in the districts of La Soukra and Kram, located north of Tunis, the country’s capital.
« Here, black migrants are not respected ».
We managed to contact Amadou, a Malian migrant who has been living in Dar Fadhal (La Soukra) for the past nine months and who claims to have been attacked by unknown people sent by his landlord after being thrown out on the street.
He recounts his misadventure: « It was on Friday around 8pm. The landlord came knocking on my door while I was sleeping. He wanted to check the cleanliness of the flat, especially the windows, which he found very dirty. But I told him that the windows were already in that state when I moved in. The argument escalated very quickly. He broke down the door and the fight started. He hit me several times, but I didn’t let him. That’s when people with knives came to defend him. One of them broke an empty bottle on my head. That’s how I ended up in hospital. When I came back, we found our things outside. There were seven of us in the flat, including a newborn baby. Black migrants are not respected here. Here, the landlords abuse us. This is racism!
Contacted by France 24 Observers, the landlord said that it was rather the men of the neighbourhood who came to his rescue from the hands of Amadou and two other tenants who were beating him. « I just wanted to see if my flat was well maintained. I thought I was renting the flat to four people. But there are nearly eight of them inside. I didn’t send anyone to assault them. They were the ones who beat me up.
Cases of assault and robbery with knives have also been reported on the Kram side, on Avenue 5 December, where many sub-Saharan migrants attracted by the low rents live.
« They had knives and wanted to stab us
Mamadou, an Ivorian national who has been living there for several years, claims to have been attacked with his brother on Monday 29 March by « Arabs » who wanted to snatch their phones. « They had knives and wanted to stab us. Fortunately, they couldn’t take our phones. We have the impression that it is only black people who are assaulted or robbed in our neighbourhood. Every day there are assaults by Arab criminals in the neighbourhoods. They assault men and women. They take our mobile phones, our wallets. It’s already not easy to live as undocumented migrants in Tunisia. We are angry ».
« The fact of being undocumented makes us vulnerable to these different abuses ».
Contacted by France 24 Observers, Ange Seri Soka, President of the Union of Ivorians in Tunisia, denounced « racist and targeted » attacks and the passivity of the security forces. « Aggressions against Sub-Saharans in Tunisia are becoming more and more regular. We count cases of aggression every two days by delinquents, thugs. And the police do nothing to change this. We are not safe. And those who attack us enjoy great impunity. On the Kram side, the aggressors are very dangerous. This is an injustice that we suffer in Tunisia. There is no respect for human rights. Nobody respects the nationals of the sub-Saharan community here. And even the embassies of our countries do not defend us. There are many undocumented migrants among us. It is not easy to have a regular residence permit here in Tunisia. And that makes us vulnerable to these different abuses. Because many are afraid to go to the police to seek justice. We need the Tunisian authorities to guarantee us more security, because migrants also contribute to the economic development of Tunisia. »
We contacted the police stations in the Kram and La Soukra neighbourhoods, but they did not respond to our questions.
In December 2018, Falikou Coulibaly, President of another Ivorian group, the Association of Ivorians in Tunisia, was fatally stabbed over a simple mobile phone. The attack had sparked anger within the sub-Saharan African community and provoked a series of demonstrations in the Tunisian capital.