Three Cameroon migrants have been arrested in Sfax, Tunisia, after clashes between Tunisians and migrants led to the death of 41-year-old Nizar Amri. Tensions were simmering weeks ahead, and the killing led to violent reactions from locals in Sfax who vowed to avenge his death. The incident resulted in migrants being thrown from terraces, attacked with swords, and injured women and children. Mohamed Mansari, a migrant from Sierra Leone, is trying to escape Sfax and is traveling to Tunis for their safety.

The Tunisian Forum for Economic and Social Rights (FTDES) denounces the arbitrary and illegal expulsions that occur all too often. The situation is not good because some Arab guys attacked them, rape black girls, stole their money, and other types of things. Media footage shows residents of Sfax cheering as the police embarked migrants in buses leaving the city. Around 20 people, including women and children, have been taken to the coastal town of Ras Ajdir on the border with Libya.

Tunisia is under pressure from the European Union (EU) to contain migrants on its territory. In June, the European Commission offered President Kais Saied a 900-million-euro package plus 150 million euros in immediate support, which is to be used for border management and combating human trafficking. The deal from the EU will only legitimize President Kais Saied’s authoritarian grip.

Saied was accused of stirring racist sentiment in the country after a speech he made in February. He ordered the expulsion of all undocumented migrants because they “bring violence.” His remarks were criticised as “hate speech and intimidation against migrants” both locally and internationally, including the African Union (AU). The Tunisian president accused of racism towards migrants from sub-Saharan Africa and feared that Tunisia would become a country of resettlement for third-country nationals that Europe had rejected.

The recent violence in Sfax is the culmination of underlying anti-black racism in Tunisia, a collapsing economy, post-pandemic food shortages, inflation, and authoritarian precedence. The pressure cooker situation is witnessing surges in xenophobic attacks.