Tunisia orders crackdown on mosques

Government to close mosques not under its control after fourteen soldiers were killed by fighters this week.

Tunisia orders crackdown on mosques

World Bulletin/News Desk

Tunisia on Saturday launched a crackdown on mosques and radio stations associated with conservative groups after militants killed 14 soldiers in an area near the country's border with Algeria.

Tunisia's armed forces have been carrying out a campaign to flush out militants from their remote hideout in the Chaambi mountains on the border with Algeria. Some of the militants and 14 soldiers were killed this week when dozens of gunmen with rocket-propelled grenades attacked two army checkpoints in the region.

"The prime minister has decided to close immediately all the mosques that are not under the control of the authorities, and those mosques where there were reported celebrations over the deaths of the soldiers," the office of Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa said in a statement.

It said the government would also order the closure of radio stations, websites or television stations that publish messages from militant groups. More than 60 people linked to militants had also been arrested since the attacks on the army checkpoints, the statement said.

It did not give any figures for mosques included in the crackdown or name any websites or media.

The government has been slowly taking back control of mosques taken over by conservative Salafist groups since the 2011 uprising.

Tunisia has been praised as a model of transition to democracy in the aftermath of the uprising. The country has adopted a new constitution, and a transition government has taken over until elections this year to overcome a crisis between a leading En Nahda party and its secular rivals.

But militants from one hardline group were blamed for killing two secular opposition leaders last year and triggering a political crisis that eventually forced the governing party to make way for a caretaker administration.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Temmuz 2014, 11:47