Weary Britons tell of Tunisia chaos

Weary Britons tell of Tunisia chaos


Hilary Carrington-Hobson (centre) greets her mother Betty Carrington and father Ian Carrington as they arrive back to Manchester Airport

Thousands of weary Britons are spending their first day home after returning from trouble-riven Tunisia.

The vast majority enjoying winter sun breaks in the north African country were flown home by their tour operators over the last two days.

On Saturday, Thomson and First Choice evacuated 1,437 holidaymakers on seven flights to airports around the country – and Thomas Cook flew 300 passengers to Manchester. The day before, Thomas Cook flew 1,500 passengers back.

It is thought there were approximately 1,000 expats living across Tunisia – famed for its beautiful climate and quality of life – before this week’s political upheaval saw scores of nationals killed, buildings torched and businesses looted.

The Foreign Office said that between 150 and 200 independent travellers in the country had registered on its website to let the British authorities know where they were.

On Saturday night, some returning passengers compared the popular tourist spot to a war zone.

Angela Khalifa, 56, from Newhall, Derbyshire, was visiting her Tunisian husband’s family but had to cut her holiday short by a day. After jetting into Birmingham Airport, she said: “The banks had broken glass, and the big shops too, like a little war zone with the military all there now. I was a bit frightened coming back.”

Holidaymakers were ordered to leave after the Foreign Office urged only essential travel.

During the unrest more than 1,000 prisoners escaped from Mahdia jail and 42 inmates were killed in a prison fire in Monastir.

On Saturday, the nation swore in a new interim president, Fouad Mebazaa, with former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali fleeing to Saudi Arabia.

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