Tunisia’s chief of army land forces resigns


The commander of Tunisia’s army land forces has resigned, the defence ministry said on Wednesday, as the military struggles to contain attacks by al Qaeda-linked militants.

Earlier this month, 15 Tunisian soldiers were killed when dozens of gunmen with rocket-propelled grenades attacked two checkpoints in Chaambi, one of the deadliest strikes on the North African country’s armed forces.
“We confirm the resignation of the General Mohammed Salah al-Hamedi, the chief of staff of the Tunisian army land forces, for personal reasons,” Rachid Bouhoula, a defence ministry spokesman said, adding that Colonel Major Mohssen al-Farissi would take the role until the president appoints a new chief.

Clashes between militants and the armed forces have intensified over the years since a 2011 revolt ousted Tunisia’s former autocrat Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali.

Since April, thousands of Tunisian soldiers have been deployed in the Chaambi region bordering Algeria which militants have used as a hideout. Some fighters have been in the area since fleeing French intervention in Mali last year.