Pretoria – A senior Tunisian opposition figure, Mohamed Brahmi, has been assassinated in central Tunis.
According to witnesses, Brahmi, secretary-general of the People’s Movement Party, was shot in front of his home and died in hospital from multiple gunshot wounds on Thursday.
The gunmen reportedly fled the scene on a motorbike.
A large crowd of people gathered before Brahmi’s home to pay tribute to the slain politician, and a number of leading political figures and fellow party members expressed their shock at the assassination.
The death of Brahmi, also a member of the National Constituent Assembly, comes as that country celebrates the 56th anniversary of its republic declaration.
It also comes about half a year after Chokri Belaid, another opposition figure and leader of Tunisia’s left wing National Front Coalition, was killed in early February.
Belaid’s death sparked one of the country’s most serious political crises in history, prompting the resignation of the government of former Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali and the nomination of a cabinet composed of technocrats.
Brahmi’s People’s Movement Party joined Belaid’s Popular Front party a few months ago.
Calling for calm, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has condemned the assassination, calling the act “heinous”.
“This heinous act must not be allowed to derail the progress that Tunisia continues to make in its democratic transition, including on the constitution, and in meeting the social and economic aspirations of the Tunisian people,” Ban said in a statement. – SAnews.gov.za