Three dead in clashes over jobs in Tunisian town

Reuters News
Posted: Jun 04, 2011 11:13 AM
Three dead in clashes over jobs in Tunisian town

TUNIS (Reuters) - Three people were killed and 90 wounded after rival clans clashed over access to jobs in the central Tunisian mining town of Metlaoui, the Interior Ministry said Saturday.

Clan members used homemade bombs, guns and iron bars against each other after a rumor spread in the town that only certain tribes would be offered jobs at the nearby Gafsa phosphate complex. Shops were looted and set on fire.

The violence, which erupted late Friday night, prompted Tunisian authorities to impose a curfew on the mining region of Gafsa, about 350 kilometers (217 miles) southwest of Tunis, the Interior Ministry said.

The North African country has been struggling to restore stability since mass protests ousted president Zine Al-Abidine Ben Ali on January 14 after 23 years in power.

Similar violence in Metlaoui in March left two people dead.

(Reporting by Tarek Amara; Editing by Joseph Nasr and Lin Noueihed)