Tunisian President Orders Army to Protect Oil and Gas Fields

Tunisia’s President Beji Caid Essebsi on Wednesday ordered the army to protect phosphate, gas and oil production facilities after protests aimed at disrupting output broke out in the south of the country.

It is the first time troops in Tunisia will be deployed to protect industrial installations that are key to Tunisia’s economy. Protests, sit-ins and strikes in recent years have cost the state billions of dollars.

For several weeks, about 1,000 protesters in Tatouine province, where Italy’s ENI and Austria’s OMV have gas operations, have been demanding jobs and a share in revenue for the area’s natural resources.

Protests have also broken out in another southern province, Kebili.


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