Tunisia’s President Beji Essebsi Dies At 92

A file photo taken on November 8, 2018, shows Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi giving a press conference in Carthage Palace near Tunis concerning the cabinet reshuffle. AFP

 

Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi, the North African country’s first democratically elected leader, died Thursday at the age of 92, his office said.

The veteran politician, the oldest head of state after Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, came to power in 2014, three years after the Arab Spring uprising toppled longtime despot Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and sparked revolts in several Arab nations.

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He had been hospitalised with a severe illness in late June and was returned to intensive care on Thursday.

AFP

Nigeria Beat Tunisia To Win AFCON Bronze Medal

Nigeria Grab Early Lead In Tunisia AFCON Third Place Clash
Nigeria’s forward Odion Ighalo (2nd-R) dribbles past Tunisia’s defender Nassim Hnid during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) third-place play-off football match between Tunisia and Nigeria at the Al Salam Stadium in Cairo on July 17, 2019. Giuseppe CACACE / AFP

 

The Super Eagles of Nigeria have won their eighth bronze medal of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).

Nigerian forward Odion Ighalo handed Gernot Rhor’s side victory with his second-minute goal in the third-place match against Tunisia at the Al Salam Stadium in Cairo on Wednesday night.

The Nigerian forward also dominates the leading goalscorers’ chart with a total of five goals in the tournament.

He is being followed by Algeria’s Riyad Mahrez and Adam Ounas, as well as DR Congo’s Cedric Bakambu and Sadio Mane of Senegal with three goals each.

Despite claiming his first AFCON medal, the Chinese based striker seemed not so good as he limped off the pitch after pulling his hamstring while he attempted to make a pass.

He, however, looks forward to winning the golden boot of the tournament, should Mane, Marez, and Ounas fail to score two goals on Friday.

Few minutes after Ighalo’s goal, Nigeria’s Kenneth Omeruo made a wonderful interception to cut out Taha Khenissi’s shot from the right after the Tunisian was sent through by a great curl from skipper Wahbi Khazri.

While the game was ongoing, the Super Eagles played too deep in their own half, paving the way for midfielders Sassi and Joris Skhiri take charge of the match.

After the restart, the North African side took charge again and were close to a goal just two minutes in.

Khazri sent substitute Firas Chaouat through, but the striker missed a one-on-one opportunity with goalkeeper Francis Uzoho as his shot hit the side of the net.

Nigeria also had a chance to extend their lead when Chukwueze picked the ball at the edge of the box but his effort was diverted behind for a corner by Ben Chirifia.

Tunisia fought hard for an equaliser in the keenly watched match but Nigeria defended the lone goal to return with at least a medal.

In the semi-final matches played on Sunday, Nigeria lost to Algeria 2-1 while Senegal beat Tunisia 1-0.

Algeria and Tunisia will fight for the trophy on Friday at the Cairo International Stadium.

Nigeria Grab Early Lead In Tunisia AFCON Third Place Clash

Nigeria Grab Early Lead In Tunisia AFCON Third Place Clash
Nigeria’s forward Odion Ighalo (2nd-R) dribbles past Tunisia’s defender Nassim Hnid during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) third-place play-off football match between Tunisia and Nigeria at the Al Salam Stadium in Cairo on July 17, 2019. Giuseppe CACACE / AFP

 

 

The Super Eagles of Nigeria have secured an early lead against Tunisia in the third-place match of the 2019 African Cup of Nations (AFCON).

The keenly-watched match is ongoing at the Al Salam Stadium in Cairo, Egypt’s capital.

Odion Ighalo fired the Super Eagles ahead of The Carthage Eagles after a poor play by Moez Ben Cherifia who made a weak attempt to clear the ball at Tunisia’s goal post.

Nigeria are battling Tunisia for the bronze medal of the competition after both teams failed to win their semi-final matches.

In the matches played on Sunday, Nigeria lost to Algeria 2-1 while Senegal beat Tunisia 1-0.

Algeria and Tunisia will fight for the trophy on Friday at the Cairo International Stadium.

Tunisia Ends Madagascar’s Fairytale AFCON Run

Madagascar’s forward Charles Andriamahitsinoro reacts during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) quarter final football match between Madagascar and Tunisia at the Al Salam Stadium in Cairo on July 11, 2019.
Khaled DESOUKI / AFP

 

Tunisia ended Madagascar’s fairytale Africa Cup of Nations run in the quarter-finals on Thursday with a 3-0 win over the tournament debutants in Cairo.

Ferjani Sassi’s heavily deflected strike gave Tunisia the lead early in the second half at Al-Salam Stadium and Youssef Msakni squeezed home a second on 60 minutes.

Naim Sliti added a third in injury time to send Tunisia through to a semi-final showdown with Sadio Mane’s Senegal, with the Carthage Eagles into the last four for the first time since clinching their only title when they hosted the 2004 edition.

READ ALSO: Algeria Beat Côte d’Ivoire On Penalties To Reach Semi-Finals

Tunisia boss Alain Giresse recalled Wahbi Khazri in attack as the lone change to the side that overcame Ghana in a last-16 penalty shootout, while Marco Ilaimaharitra returned from suspension as Madagascar fielded the same team used throughout the group phase.

Tunisia, the continent’s second-ranked side at 25th in the world, had reached the quarter-finals here without winning a single game following four successive draws.

After matches in Suez and Ismailia, this was a first Cairo outing for the Carthage Eagles, who controlled possession early but didn’t truly threaten until a sweetly struck Khazri free-kick was superbly flicked onto the bar by Madagascar goalkeeper Melvin Adrien.

Ghailene Chaalali forced Adrien to push an awkward low shot behind while Mouez Hassen, apologetic after his angry reaction to being substituted ahead of the shootout in the last round, was a largely untested bar from a long-range Ibrahim Amada effort.

Madagascar was trying to become the first newcomers since South Africa in 1996 to reach the semi-finals, but their hopes were effectively extinguished by the hour.

Khazri saw a goal disallowed for offside straight after half-time, but Sassi struck minutes later when his tame shot from the edge of the area hit Thomas Fontaine and spun past a helpless Adrien.

Msakni then promptly doubled Tunisia’s advantage, jumping on a rebound to slip the ball low beyond Adrien moments after he parried a shot from Khazri.

Charles Andriamahitsinoro, who scored twice for Madagascar in the group stage, looked to be through on goal after a long punt forward but failed to muster a shot. Amada was unable to reproduce his wonder strike from the DR Congo tie as he sliced wide from distance.

This was the first competitive meeting between the countries in almost two decades, and while Nicolas Dupuis has transformed Madagascar from a team once ranked 190th, Sliti’s injury-time goal ensured it was the end of a remarkable adventure for the ‘Barea’.

AFP

AFCON: Tunisia Goalkeeper Apologises For Action During Ghana Clash

Tunisia’s goalkeeper Mouez Hassen (L) reacts to being substituted during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) Round of 16 football match between Ghana and Tunisia at the Ismailia Stadium in the Egyptian city on July 8, 2019. JAVIER SORIANO / AFP

 

Tunisia goalkeeper Mouez Hassen apologised Tuesday for his furious reaction to being substituted ahead of a penalty shootout against Ghana at the Africa Cup of Nations.

Hassen, 24, was replaced by Farouk Ben Mustapha right at the end of extra time in Monday’s last 16 clash that Tunisia won 5-4 on penalties following a 1-1 draw in Ismailia.

“I want to come back on yesterday’s incident and I will start first of all by offering an apology to the coach, my teammates as well as the supporters of the national team,” Hassen tweeted, putting his “regrettable reaction” down to the “pressure of the match”.

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The incident was reminiscent of this year’s English League Cup final when Chelsea’s Kepa Arrizabalaga refused to come off ahead of a shootout eventually won by Manchester City.

Hassen, however, begrudgingly made way for Ben Mustapha, whose save from Caleb Ekuban proved the difference as Tunisia prevailed to set up a meeting with surprise quarter-finalists Madagascar.

“I’m committed to having a positive attitude and cohesive spirit for the rest of my career with the Carthage Eagles,” he promised.

AFP

Tunisia Win On Penalties To End 54-Year Dominance By Ghana

Tunisia’s players celebrate their win during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) Round of 16 football match between Ghana and Tunisia at the Ismailia Stadium in the Egyptian city on July 8, 2019.
Giuseppe CACACE / AFP

 

Tunisia defeated Ghana 5-4 on penalties Monday with Ferjani Sassi converting the decisive spot-kick to end a 54-year Africa Cup of Nations losing streak against the Black Stars.

After a 1-1 draw following extra time in Ismailia, Tunisia scored from all five penalties while Ghana substitute Caleb Ekusan had his attempt saved by Farouk Ben Mustapha, who came off the bench especially for the shootout.

Victory was sweet for Tunisia as they had lost six times to Ghana in the African football showcase from 1965 after drawing the first meeting between the nations two years earlier.

On Thursday, the Carthage Eagles play giantkillers, Madagascar in a quarter-final in Cairo with the winners meeting Senegal or Benin for a place in the July 19 final.

Losing on penalties ended a Ghana run of six consecutive top-four finishes in the Cup of Nations and puts the future of coach Kwesi Appiah in doubt.

Four-time former champions Ghana changed two of the team that began a 2-0 win over Guinea-Bissau that enabled them to pip Cameroon for top spot in Group F on goals scored.

Both alterations were on the left side of a 4-3-3 formation with defender Nuhu Kasim and midfielder Afriyie Acquah replacing Joseph Aidoo and Owusu Kwabena.

Tunisia coach and 1980s France star Alain Giresse reacted to an embarrassing 0-0 draw with minnows Mauritania in their previous match by dropping four of the team.

Big Surprise

A big surprise was the exclusion of forward Wahbi Khazri, who had been the outstanding Tunisian attacker in the group phase and scored one of their two goals.

Bassem Srarfi, Naim Sliti and Karim Aouadhi were also relegated to the bench with Ghaylen Chaalali, Ferjani Sassi, Taha Yassine Khenissi and Anice Badri promoted.

After early yellow cards for Ghanaian John Boye, the first player to be red-carded in the group phase, and Tunisian Dylan Bronn, the first half became a cagey, even affair.

Ghana came close to scoring on 16 minutes when a Kasim header struck the post and Andre Ayew fired the rebound straight at goalkeeper Hassen Mouez.

Andre Ayew was convinced he had put the Black Stars ahead on 41 minutes when he backheeled a cross into the net, but the referee ruled that Thomas Partey handled in the build-up.

Replays showed the ball touching the chin of the Atletico Madrid midfielder rather than a hand and the disallowed goal infuriated the Ghanaians.

Midway through the second half Giresse had second thoughts about the composition of his attack, which was making little impression, and sent on Khazri in place of Badri.

Khazri needed just five minutes to make an impact with his brilliant backheel creating space for Wajdi Kechrida to cross and Khenissi scored with a shot that went in off the near post.

The woodwork foiled Ghana a second time when a Mubarak Wakaso shot from outside the box struck the far post 10 minutes from the end of regular time with Mouez beaten.

In the first minute of stoppage time, the Blacks Stars drew level with an attempted headed clearance by Bedoui looped over Mouez, who had strayed off his line.

IS Claims Twin Suicide Attacks In Tunisia Capital

Tunisian security forces gather at the site of an attack in the Tunisian capital’s main avenue Habib Bourguiba on June 27, 2019./AFP

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for double suicide attacks that killed a police officer and wounded eight people in the Tunisian capital on Thursday, a US-based monitor said.

The “executors of the two attacks on Tunisian security elements” were IS “fighters”, SITE Intelligence Group quoted a statement from the jihadists’ propaganda wing, Amaq, as saying.

Tunisia President In ‘Critical Condition’

Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi delivers a speech during the opening day of the 40th session of the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council in Geneva. Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP

 

Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi was in “critical condition” Thursday after being taken to hospital with a serious illness, a key adviser said.

The 92-year-old leader “was taken seriously ill and transferred to the military hospital in Tunis,” the presidency said on its Facebook page.

READ ALSO: Double Suicide Blasts Wound Nine In Tunisia Capital

Shortly afterward key adviser Firas Guefrech said on Twitter that the president was in “critical condition”.

The announcement came after two suicide attacks in Tunis on security forces killed a policeman and wounded eight people.

Essebsi, the country’s first democratically elected president, came to power in 2014, three years after the Arab Spring uprising toppled longtime dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and sparked revolts in several Arab nations.

Last week, a presidential adviser said that Essebsi had undergone routine medical tests while another said he had suffered from a slight “discomfort”.

A veteran politician, Essebsi served as an adviser to Habib Bourguiba, the father of Tunisia’s independence from France, holding a number of key jobs under him and later under Ben Ali.

Over the years, Essebsi was director general of the national police and interior minister. He later held the defence portfolio before becoming ambassador to France.

After a subsequent posting as Tunisia’s envoy to Germany, he was named foreign minister.

He also served in parliament, holding the speakership in 1990 and 1991.

He became prime minister after the 2011 uprising and organised parliamentary elections later that year.

Essebsi is the founder and chairman of the secularist Nidaa Tounes (Call of Tunis) party.

In April he said he did not plan to stand for re-election in polls due to be held in November this year in order to make way for someone younger.

Presidential elections are scheduled for November 17, after parliamentary elections which have been set for October 6.

AFP

Double Suicide Blasts Wound Nine In Tunisia Capital

Tunisian security forces gather at the site of an attack in the Tunisian capital’s main Avenue Habib Bourguiba on June 27, 2019. Two suicide bombers attacked police and the national guard in the Tunisian capital, killing a police officer and wounding at least eight people including several civilians, the interior ministry said. PHOTO: FETHI BELAID / AFP

 

Two suicide bombers attacked police and the national guard in the Tunisian capital on Thursday, wounding at least nine people including several civilians, the interior ministry said.

One attack on the main street of Tunis wounded three civilians and two police personnel, the interior ministry said.

Body parts were strewn in the road around a police car on Habib Bourguiba avenue near the old city, according to an AFP correspondent.

“It was a suicide attack, which took place at 10:50” (0950 GMT), on Habib Bourguiba, Interior Ministry spokesman Sofiene Zaag told AFP.

The suicide bomber did not kill anyone “but five (are) wounded — three civilians and two police officers”, Zaag added.

The second attack targeted a base of the national guard in the capital and wounded four security personnel, the ministry said.

“At 11:00 am (1000 GMT) an individual blew himself up outside the back door” of the base, wounding four security personnel, Zaag said.

Civil protection units and police rapidly deployed to Habib Bourguiba avenue, where the interior ministry is located.

People initially fled in panic, before some crowded around the scene of the attack, expressing anger against the authorities. Shops and offices were closed by police.

On October 29 last year an unemployed graduate blew herself up near police cars on the same street, killing herself and wounding 26 people, mostly police officers, according to the interior ministry.

AFP

Olympic Eagles Set For Libya Clash In Tunisia

U23 training at the Ben Guerdane Stadium, Ben Guerdane ahead of Wednesday’s clash against Libya. Source: NFF Twitter

 

Cup holders Nigeria have begun the race towards a successful defence of their Africa U23 title in Tunisia on Wednesday when they take on their Libyan counterparts in a first round, first leg encounter of the qualification series.

Wednesday’s encounter, which kicks off at 3:00 pm Tunisia time (same as in Nigeria), on the artificial turf of the Ben Guerdane Stadium in the city of Ben Guerdane, will see Nigeria’s Head Coach, Imama Amapakabo throw in his best dice for a good result ahead of the return leg in Asaba on Monday.

Amapakabo will work with a good blend of homeboys and overseas-based professionals. Lobi Stars’ trio of John Lazarus, Ugochukwu Anumudu and Ebube Duru are joined by Enyimba’s Dare Olatunji and Stephen Egbe, and Wikki Tourists’ goalie Adamu Abubakar, amongst others.

Former U17 World Cup winners Taiwo Awoniyi, Kelechi Nwakali, Kingsley Michael, Orji Okonkwo, Chidera Ezeh and Samuel Chukwueze are among the Europe–based who teamed up with the delegation in Tunisia.

Victory on Wednesday would pave the way to the final round of qualifiers for the champions, which is due in June.

The Confederation of African Football has appointed Ghanaian officials to take charge of proceedings, with Daniel Laryea as referee. Acheampong Brobbey is the assistant referee 1 while Emmanuel Allou is assistant referee 2 and Adaar Abdul Latif is the fourth official. Amir Osman Mohamed Amid from Sudan is the match commissioner.

Nigeria is the only African country to have won gold, silver and bronze medals of the Men’s Olympic Football Tournament. Gold was the harvest at the Centennial Games in Atlanta, USA, and silver came in Beijing, China in 2008.

The bronze medal won by the Olympic Eagles at the Games in Brazil in 2016 was the only medal won by the entire Team Nigeria at the event.

Africa’s flag-bearers in the Men’s Olympic Football Tournament of Tokyo 2020 will emerge during the 3rd Africa U23 Cup of Nations to hold in Egypt 8th – 22nd November this year.

Infection Kills 15 Babies In Tunisia Hospital

A photo taken March 11, 2019, shows a nurse checking on babies inside incubators at the maternity ward of the Rabta hospital in Tunis.
FETHI BELAID / AFP

 

Fifteen babies were killed by an infection at a Tunisian state hospital, investigators said Friday, as they announced a new death toll in a scandal which has sparked public outrage.

Investigations were launched after newborns at the Rabta state hospital in Tunis started dying last week.

Mohamed Douagi, head of the commission of inquiry, said Friday in total 22 babies have died at the clinic since March 6.

READ ALSO: Thousands Of Algerians Protest Despite Bouteflika’s Vow Not To Run

“Medically it is proven that 15 of these deaths are linked in a direct or indirect way to the bacterial infection,” he said in a press conference broadcast online.

“It’s the final toll of this tragedy,” he added.

The acting health minister, Sonia Ben Cheikh, said Monday 12 babies had died from a hospital-acquired infection according to preliminary findings.

“The whole health sector is in a state of emergency,” she said.

The deaths of the newborns prompted her predecessor Abderraouf Cherif to resign, while a number of senior health ministry officials have also stepped down.

Tunisia’s public health system was once a source of pride, but it has been hit by management and financial problems that lowered standards and caused drug shortages.

AFP

Tunisia Health Minister Quits Over Deaths Of Newborns

Tunisia Health Minister Quits Over Deaths Of Newborns
This picture taken on March 9, 2019, shows the entrance of the Wassila Bourguiba state maternity hospital in the Tunisian capital Tunis, at which 11 newborn babies died suddenly in its Rabta clinic, prompting a government probe into the incident. FETHI BELAID / AFP

 

Tunisia’s health minister has resigned after the sudden deaths of 11 newborn babies at a state maternity hospital sparked an outcry in the country, the government said.

Prime Minister Youssef Chahed accepted Abderraouf Cherif’s resignation, the premier’s office said on Facebook late on Saturday.

“Those responsible for any negligence will face legal proceedings,” the prime minister said at the maternity hospital in the capital late Saturday, according to a video released by his office.

Leading newspaper Essafa on Sunday cried foul and compared the deaths of the babies to a “state crime”.

A medical association said the sudden deaths could have been caused by a food product that had gone bad.

The babies died on Thursday and Friday at the Rabta clinic in Tunis, which is part of a large medical centre in the capital.

Since then authorities have launched several investigations, including medical and hygiene checks by the health ministry, which was also probing the management of the hospital pharmacy.

Prosecutors said they had opened a judicial inquiry into the deaths.

The Tunisian pediatrics society wrote in a statement on Facebook that “elements of the ongoing investigation” pointed to an infection caused by a food product given by gastric tube.

The association called on the authorities to “shed light” on the situation and recalled the “precarious conditions in which health professionals work”.

The health ministry said in a statement that “preventive measures and treatment have been taken to avoid other victims and to ensure the health of other babies in the maternity ward”.

The independent Tunisian Forum of Economic and Social Rights had called on the health minister to resign over the deaths.

The public health system, once a source of pride in Tunisia, has been hit by management and financial problems that lowered standards and caused drug shortages.

AFP