Tunsia Risk Advisory


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Tunsia Risk Advisory

  1. 1. Security risk elevated for TunisiaThe risk rating for Tunisia following the announcement of a state of emergency and thedissolution of parliament by President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali on 14 December. Theannouncement comes amid clashes between demonstrators and the authorities in the capitalTunis. Security forces used batons and fired tear gas at demonstrators calling for the immediateresignation of the president outside the interior ministry. Unconfirmed reports also indicated thatheavy gunfire could be heard. Demonstrations have been reported in a number of other locationsin the country, including Sidi Bouzid where the unrest began. Meanwhile a number of touroperators are cancelling departures to Tunisia, with some attempting to pull their customers out ofthe country. However, the army has secured the main airport and Tunisian air space is reportedto have been closed. There is a high likelihood of further protests and continued violencethroughout the country. Security forces have imposed a curfew from 1700 to 0700 hours, whilefurther restrictions on travel are likely to be in place throughout the country, particularly in urbanareas. Much of the anger from demonstrators appears to have been directed towards the wife ofBen Ali, Layla Ben Ali, and as such any assets, companies or buildings associated with her maybe at risk of being targeted by demonstrators. Personnel are advised to stay clear of areas whereprotests may occur, including urban centers, especially in Tunis, near government buildings andpolice stations. Media personnel covering the demonstrations are advised to wear flak jacketsand helmets. Stay under hard cover where possible and be prepared to leave at short notice if thesecurity situation deteriorates. While some foreign nationals are attempting to evacuate thecountry this may not always be the best option. It may be preferable to stay put and monitor thesituation rather than traveling outside where there is a risk of violence, particularly during curfewhours when movements will likely be restricted anyway. Contingency plans should nonethelessbe put in place and personnel should assess possible exit routes and safe havens. Note thatmany rural areas and suburbs are not being directly affected. In the event that the unrestcontinues martial law may be imposed. A prolonging of violence and looting may also lead todisruption in utilities (such as water and electricity). Mobile coverage may also become restricted.Risk issued an advisory for TunisiaTunisiaA risk advisory for Tunisia as the situation remains uncharacteristically hazardous in the country.Gun battles are being reported between the military and the former presidential guard (whoconstituted the special forces of the former regime). The army is reported to be gaining the upperhand at present and they are certainly more numerous but the guards are very well trained andvery well armed. They are attempting to disrupt the situation through the use of small arms, arsonand even possibly with explosives. Amid the fluidity of the situation personnel are advised toremain in close contact with colleagues and employees. Movements should be undertaken onlywhen necessary. It may be preferable to stay put under hard cover rather than evacuatingalthough the latter may become necessary in areas particularly affected by violence or fire. Havecontingency plans in place and designate nearby safe havens in case you need to move at shortnotice.Faheem Ul Hasan