Tunisian police arrest man after three stabbed on tram

Tunisian police have arrested a man with apparent mental health issues after he stabbed and wounded three passengers on a tram in the capital, the interior ministry said Monday.

A ministry official told AFP that the alleged assailant in Sunday’s attack, who had been living in Italy before moving to Tunisia in 2020, “suffers from psychological problems according to his family”.

The motive for the attack was under investigation.

Police sent to Bab Alioua tram station near central Tunis had found “passengers in panic shoving each other to get out”, police said in a Facebook post.

Officers overpowered and arrested the unidentified suspect, who had stabbed three passengers and also tried to knife the police.

Tunisia is in the throes of a socio-economic crisis compounded by the coronavirus epidemic.

Unemployment has shot up to 18 percent, with levels of more than 40 percent among young Tunisians, for whom suicide has become a leading cause of death.

Inflation has risen to more than six percent, eroding the population’s buying power over the past decade and sending poverty levels soaring.

According to the World Health Organization, Tunisia has about 120,000 people with schizophrenia among its 12 million population, but only one percent of them receive hospital treatment.