Jendouba – El Kef

Left Jendouba quite late in the morning, heading further south towards El Kef (the stone in English). The ride was relaxed. A few kilometers from Kef I saw a helicopter that seemed to be circling above the city. A bit later, Kef was just behind a last hill, I heard gun shots in the distance. And from the top of that hill I saw smoke rise from the city.

Well, there was not much I could do besides cycling on and trying to find a place to sleep. It was around half past 4 in the evening and there was no other town nearby. So I rode on, hoping to get to the hotel I had picked from my guide book.

I had just entered the city when a car stopped next to me and the guy behind the wheel told me there were fights between civilians and the police in the city center. Apparently the head of the local police had slapped a woman in the face and was about to get lynched for that. The guy gave me his cell number and said I should under no circumstances go further into the city.

Went a few hundred meters further to the nearest hotel. There a guy was erecting a brick wall around the glass front of the lobby for fear of vandalism. I asked around if the hotel was open nonetheless, but the owner told me it wasn’t – “I cannot guarantee your safety”. My best bet, according to him, was to get out of Kef entirely, or to seek refuge at the local army base.

I was just about to leave when a friend of the hotel owner’s arrived – himself a hotel owner, too. His establishment was located at the edge of the town and safer. He offered me to let me stay there.

Apart from the guards the place was deserted. No travelers anywhere.

I checked the news and learned that the riots in Kef had been going on since the day before, and that two people had been shot dead when the police ran out of tear gas and had to fire life ammo into the crowd.

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