Tunisia attack: Armed coastguards who failed to take on killer Seifeddine Rezgui face being dismissed

A Tunisian who picked up a gun dropped by one of the coastguards and opened fire on the killer was also questioned by the police

Kim Sengupta
Thursday 02 July 2015 07:12
Comments
Six of the British victims of the Tunisia beach massacre who have been returned to the UK. Top row from left: Adrian Evans, Patrick Evans and Joel Richards. Bottom row from left: Carly Lovett, Elaine and Denis Thwaites
Six of the British victims of the Tunisia beach massacre who have been returned to the UK. Top row from left: Adrian Evans, Patrick Evans and Joel Richards. Bottom row from left: Carly Lovett, Elaine and Denis Thwaites

Armed coastguards who failed to intervene during the beach massacre in Sousse have been questioned by the police and face dismissal as the Tunisian government investigates security breaches.

A 29-year-old Tunisian who picked up a gun dropped by one of the coastguards and opened fire on the killer, Seifeddine Rezgui, was also questioned by the police.

The man was mistaken by some witnesses for a second killer of the 38 foreign holidaymakers, most of them British. Security sources confirmed the man, a former member of the armed forces, is not a suspect. Mohamed Ali Aroui, chief spokesman for Tunisia’s Interior Ministry, said initial forensic tests indicated the victims had all been killed by the same weapon. Rezgui opened fire with a Kalashnikov, but the coastguards carried Steyr rifles.

Officials also dismissed claims by some media that Rezgui had taken cocaine before the attack and was wearing an explosives-packed suicide vest. Government director of medical research, Anis Ghellouz, said: “There is no evidence he had taken cocaine and, on a very basic level, cocaine consumption does not allow a person to react the way he did.” A senior police officer added: “You can see just from the photos that what was lying on the ground was a bag, not a bomb.”

Gunman Seifeddine Rezgui killed 38 tourists at a beach resort in Sousse

Reports that Rezgui was accompanied by an armed accomplice gained circulation as it emerged that the 22-year-old killer was an Isis adherent who had received Islamist military training in Libya.

A friend of the man who opened fire, said: “He went to the police station voluntarily, he was not arrested... He fired two rounds and then the gun jammed. The gunman then fired towards us and we both dived to the ground. He had magazines in the bag he was carrying and reloaded to carry on the killings.”

The two men chased Rezgui, who was hit on the head by tiles flung by a resident and then shot dead by police.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in