Tunisia: 2,000 Youth Stopped From Joining World Conflict Zones this Year
“In 2016, 1,877 Tunisians were prevented from leaving the country to travel to hot spots,” said Interior Ministry spokesman Yasser Mesbah.
Since January, Tunisian security authorities have also busted 33 suspected “terrorist” cells and launched legal procedures against 1,400 people accused of belonging to a “terrorist organization,” Mesbah further told Shems FM; a private radio station.
Most of those stopped from joining conflict zones according to Mesbah are aged between 20 and 23 and have been put under surveillance.
Last year, a UN Working group put the number of Tunisians joining the terrorist groups in conflict zones at more than 5,000 including around 700 women.
Tunisia has been facing growing extremism since the 2011 revolution. Last year, three major terror acts stroke the country killing altogether 71 people mostly foreign tourists.
IS and other terror groups found fertile grounds in the country’s poor regions where they have been able to lure thousands of youths.
Gripped by the growing security concern, authorities have enhanced army and police capability. Mesbah said since January up to “1,733 raids have been carried out on the homes of people suspected of sheltering terrorist elements and 140 people suspected for facilitating youths’ travel plans have been arrested and brought before court.