14 May 2018

Tunisia: Sidi Bouzid - Protest in Jelma Against Connection of Souabia Well

Sidi Bouzid/Tunisia — Tensions have erupted Monday morning everywhere in the delegation of Jelma (governorate of Sidi Bouzid), after the intervention of the police to ensure the connection of the Souabia well related to the National Company of Water Exploitation and Distribution (SONEDE).

Protesters blocked the national highway No. 3 and set tires on fire. They threw stones at the police who fired back with tear gas and arrested some of them. An injured person was transported to the regional hospital.

The connection of the Souabia well meant to supply five delegations of the governorate, has been blocked since 2014,by the inhabitants of Jelma who demand the fulfilment of their demands; part of the profits from the exploitation of the well, jobs within the SONEDE and granting State agricultural land.

Governor of Sidi Bouzid Anis Dhifallah called last Wednesday at a press conference, the civil society to intervene to find a solution to the problem of this well whose connection is blocked by the local inhabitants' "excessive claims," threatening otherwise to resort to the police.

For their part, the representatives of the Regional Labour Union, the civil society and the candidates elected in the municipal elections (May 6) published Sunday evening a motion in which they warn the local and regional authorities against the use of force, asking to postpone the connection of the well until the formation of the next municipal council.

Created in 2014, the Souabia well has a flow rate of 60 litres per second. It will benefit more than 60 thousand inhabitants in five delegations of the governorate of Sidi Bouzid, namely, Jelma, Sidi Bouzid-east and west, Ouled Haffouz, Saida and the Om Adham industrial zone.

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