Tunisian interior ministry names nine senior security officials


Tunisia’s interior minister on Thursday appointed nine senior officials including a new intelligence chief, days after the country’s president Kais Saied said there had been attempts to infiltrate the ministry.

Saied, who last month dismissed the prime minister and froze parliament in an intervention that his Islamist opponents have labelled a coup, said last week there had been attempts to infiltrate the interior ministry that he would not allow to succeed.

Saied has not yet given any details of this infiltration but the interior ministry has moved to bolster its security capabilities. Sami Yahyaoui has been appointed head of intelligence, Makram Akid as head of the anti-terrorism apparatus, and Mourad Hussein as director general of public security.

That’s after Saied was on Wednesday reported to have appointed a new director general of national security and a commander of the National Guard.

Yet three weeks after Saied’s dismissal of Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi, which gained widespread popular support, he has not yet appointed a replacement or announced his plans to manage the next phase of his reforms.

This has raised concerns among some Tunisians about the future of the democratic system that the country adopted after its 2011 revolution that triggered the Arab Spring.

Sources close to the presidential palace have said Saied wanted to introduce radical changes in the state apparatus, especially the security service, after it remained a centre of political polarization during the past decade.