February 2, 2011 / 1:51 PM / 9 years ago

Forces conspiring against Tunisian state security: minister

TUNIS (Reuters) - Some members of the Tunisian security forces are conspiring to undermine state security, Tunisia’s new interior minister said on Tuesday, after what he said was an attack by a 2,000-strong group on the interior ministry.

“These people who came yesterday to the ministry ... are the same people who went out today to scare people,” Farhat Rajhi told privately-owned Hannibal TV.

“There is a conspiracy against state security and there is a conspiracy in the security forces.”

Rajhi’s comments came after gangs of youths rampaged through schools in the capital on Tuesday, terrorizing students, and a day after gangs marauded through the town of Gassrine, burning government buildings and intimidating residents.

Rajhi said he had sacked the national security chief because he had not followed orders in clearing out protesters camped outside government offices on Saturday.

Rajhi also said that the interior minister who led the crackdown on the uprising that toppled former president Zine al-Abdine Ben Ali had been arrested.

A U.N. human rights team said on Tuesday that 147 people had been killed and 510 wounded in the revolt that began on December 17.

Tunisia’s government has vowed to investigate the abuses and compensate the families of those affected.

Reporting by Tarek Amara; writing by Lin Noueihed; editing by Andrew Roche

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