Tunisia’s security situation has significantly improved, but such gains remain relative, a former Tunisian brigadier-general has told The New Arab.
The north African nation extended its state of emergency for another three-month period on February 16, with President Beji Caid Essebsi signing the extension amid persistent threats from armed groups.
The renewal flies in the face of government assurances of improved security across the country. Prime Minister Youssef Chahed on Wednesday that the state of emergency would “definitely” be lifted in three months’ time.
Mohamed Meddeb is a former brigadier-general in the Tunisian army who retired from the service in 2012. Meddeb believes the renewal of the state of emergency is justified.
“I believe the country’s security situation has achieved some improvements. However, we’re still far away from a normal situation,” he tells The New Arab. “It requires decades to definitely have a real stabilised situation.”
Having said that, “to say that the security situation has improved – that’s relative, though”.
Emergency measure spreads fear
The extension is likely to keep foreign tourists away from the country, observers believe.
According to official records, the number of tourists increased in January 2017 by 10 in comparison with January 2016.
Tourists from the Maghreb countries represent the laregst proportion of visitors, with 58.4 percent. Europeans comprised 12.6 percent of the country’s visitors in January.
Britons hungry for a splash of winter sun made up only 3.8 percent of the total European arrivals in January.
The New Arab