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Tensions flare following tribal clashes in southern Tunisia

(Xinhua)

10:47, May 02, 2012

TUNIS, May 1 (Xinhua) -- Tensions flared following the eruption of violent tribal clashes near Tunisia's southern town of Ben Guerdene, the official TAP press agency reported Monday.

Witnesses said that houses were burnt and several people were injured after two main local tribes clashed over last week's appointment of a new Imam (preacher) in a mosque in the town, some 450 km from the capital, TAP said.

One man got a bullet wound and had to be amputated in a hospital in the town of Sfax, fueling further unrest.

The security situation was qualified as "very serious," as policemen and army forces were unable to enter the area after the event. Meanwhile, inhabitants have issued a call for help to local authorities after their houses were ransacked and burnt down, TAP reported.

Since the unrest that toppled former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali on Jan. 14, 2011, Tunisia has systematically reinstated the state of emergency, which expired on April 30. A decision is expected to take place within the next hours to reconvene or lift it.

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