Tunisian shepherd beheaded by extremists near Algerian border
TUNIS - Presumed Islamic extremists kidnapped and beheaded a young shepherd in mountains in the Tunisian west near the border with Algeria on Sunday, security sources and residents said.
Troops found the body of Okba Dhibi after he had been seized by armed extremists, the sources said.
Relatives of the victim said they were captured and tied up by extremists who beheaded Dhibi before their eyes.
This is the third shepherd killed by extremist in the impoverished area in recent years. Extremists previously accused the shepherds of being security informants.
According to security experts, the new beheading could have been intended as a warning to local inhabitants against any collaboration with authorities.
Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi said that act would not go unpunished. He dispatched Interior Minister Taoufik Charfeddine to present the government’s condolences to Dhibi’s family.
But tragedy was compounded Monday when three security officers who were part of the minister’s escort were killed in a traffic accident on their way to the victim’s home.
Tunisian forces are carrying out operations in the Kasserine and Salloum mountain range to flush out Ajned Kilafha extremists allied to ISIS.
Militants linked to al-Qaeda and ISIS groups have been sheltering for years in the desolate, hilly terrain along a stretch of the border with Algeria and sometimes clash with security forces there. The threat is regarded as having been contained.