Swedish boar hunters safe after Tunisia attack
AFP/The Local · 17 Jan 2011, 12:53
Published: 17 Jan 2011 10:46 GMT+01:00
Updated: 17 Jan 2011 12:53 GMT+01:00
- Nearly half of Swedish wolf hunt quota met (15 Jan 11)
- Swedish wolf activists threaten to sabotage hunt (14 Jan 11)
- Swedish hunter shoots elk, mistakenly kills skier (06 Dec 10)
Foreign ministry spokeswoman Camilla Åkesson Lindblom told AFP that the 12, who earlier said they had been beaten on suspicion of being "foreign terrorists", were all accounted for after the incident on Sunday.
"We have had contact with all of them, and the three who we hadn't heard from yesterday are also now at their hotel," she said.
The Swedes were not being held against their will, she emphasised, pointing out that "they are simply waiting at the hotel until they are able to go home."
The Swedes, who had arrived in Tunisia nearly two weeks ago to hunt wild boar, had been in three separate taxis traveling to the airport Sunday when they were stopped at a checkpoint, dragged out of the vehicles and beaten, one of them said.
"They searched the vehicles. They found our rifles and everything degenerated. They dragged us out of the cars, treated us like foreign terrorists. We were kicked and beaten," Ove Öberg told reporters at the Africa Hotel after the ordeal on Sunday.
"We arrived about 10 days ago in Tunisia to hunt boars. We boarded three taxis today to go to the airport and while we were on our way we were stopped at a checkpoint," Öberg told reporters in a hotel in central Tunis on Sunday.
According to Öberg, police arrested a group of nine Swedish boar hunters travelling in taxis toward a nearby hotel after their flight home was cancelled amid gun battles in the city. Öberg and the five others had a bloodied face and bruises.
"The police arrived. We showed our permits and we could explain to them. The police helped us get out of the situation. The only thing we want now is to go home," said the man, who was visibly still in shock.
A senior police officer said on state television earlier that several people, including four German nationals, had been arrested after being found carrying weapons inside three taxis in the capital.
"We arrested four German nationals and others of different nationalities. I don't know the number or the nationalities of the other foreigners," the officer said, without giving further details.
Tunisia has been wracked by violence following the ouster of strongman leader Zine El Abidine Ben Ali after a wave of popular unrest spread across the country.