- Middle East/North Africa
Ahmed al-Khadrawi, an officer in the Tunisian National Guards, said that chief of staff Rasheed Ammar who was removed by Zein al-Abedin Ben Ali four days ago has received last-minute instructions via the US Embassy to take charge of Tunisian affairs if the situation gets out of control.
Al-Khadrawi told Al-Jazeera news on Saturday that he has documents proving what he says and that he is fully responsible for his declarations, adding that the Tunisian army enjoys a good reputation among the citizens.
Asked why Ammar has not spread his control over the country and declared military rule, al-Khadrawi said that the sudden popular uprising has shocked both the political and military institutions.
On Saturday, the Tunisian military arrested 50 body guards of the Tunisian president in the city of Tataween, some 500 kilometers to the south of Tunis.
A press source in Tataween told DPA that the military has arrested 50 of the body guards of Ben Ali when they were driving in the direction of Libya in cars that had no license plates. Some of them were taken to hospital after they were injured in clashes with the military, the source added.
Another ten of the president's guards have escaped to a mountainous area and the military is after them, the source said, adding that several of the prominent figures of the toppled regime have attempted to flee to Libya but were arrested by security and the residents.
Observers say that the president's guards were in confusion after the president fled outside the country, while other analysts accuse the overthrown president of orchestrating the intimidation and looting now widespread in the country.
Translated from the Arabic Edition.