Hundreds of people have protested in Tunisia to express their strong dissent against the return of their compatriots who had fought alongside Takfiri terrorists abroad.
About 1,000 people, many wrapped in Tunisian flags, staged a demonstration in central Tunis, the country’s capital, on Sunday, chanting, “No to returning terrorists!” and “All Tunisians against terrorism!”
According to figures released by the Tunisian Interior Ministry, more than 3,000 Tunisians are known to have traveled abroad to operate in the ranks of militant groups, particularly the Daesh Takfiri terrorists. The United Nations, however, says over 5,000 nationals are in the ranks of militant groups.
Tunisia is among the countries with the highest per capita number of extremist militants operating in other countries.
“Tunisians need to be reassured by a real political will that makes it clear these criminals won’t be allowed to return,” said one of the demonstrators.
In recent months, Daesh has been under intense pressure by government troops in Iraq and Syria, where the Takfiri group once occupied swaths of land. The terrorist group has been increasingly losing members and areas it once held. Daesh is also losing its main stronghold of Sirte in Libya.
The gloomy status quo of Daesh has growingly worried Tunisians that many militants will return to the North African country.
Tunisian authorities recently warned about the return of thousands of Takfiri militants, demanding “exceptional measures” to combat the phenomenon.
Tunisian security forces have detained several dozen alleged terrorists in a growing crackdown on radicalized nationals in recent weeks, particularly following a truck attack, claimed by Daesh, at a Christmas market in the German capital, Berlin, on December 19.
Anis Amri, a Tunisian national, was identified as the main suspect in the truck ramming, which killed a dozen people. Amri was killed in a shootout with police in the northern Italian city of Milan on December 23.
Tunisia has experienced violence since the 2011 uprising that ousted the country’s dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, who was in power for over two decades.
The country has also been affected by the growing instability in neighboring Libya, which has been in chaos since former dictator Muammar Gaddafi was toppled and later killed in 2011.