Djerba, Ras Jdir (Medenine Governorate)
This week saw serious disruption at the Choucha camp near the Tunisia - Libya border where around 4,000 migrant workers and refugees from the conflict in Libya are accommodated pending humanitarian evacuation to their countries of origin, or other solutions. Four Eritreans died in a fire in the Eritrean block of the camp on 22 May as residents were sleeping. Twenty tents were lost, and the cause is being investigated. At the time, the Choucha camp was hosting some 4,500 people - mostly Somalis, Eritreans, and Sudanese.
The problems continued on 23 May when a large group of migrant workers surrounded UNHCR’s office at the camp, seeking immediate resettlement. UNHCR staff and other humanitarian workers received death threats and were forced to withdraw. Some of the demonstrators then blocked the main highway between the Ras Ajdir border point and the rest of Tunisia, prompting anger among the local Tunisian community.
Early on 24 May violence erupted among various groups in the camp and at least two deaths were reported. Despite the efforts of the Tunisian military to prevent clashes, the situation deteriorated further as some 500 local Tunisians descended on the camp. In the chaos, more tents were looted and burned. Many camp residents fled to the surrounding desert. Order was restored by the Tunisian authorities by the evening.