Tunisian president receives poison letter and aide becomes sick after opening it

Attempted poisoning confirmed by president's office

FILE PHOTO: Tunisian President Kais Saied takes the oath of office in Tunis, Tunisia, October 23, 2019. REUTERS/Zoubeir Souissi/File Photo
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The office of Tunisian President Kais Saied on Thursday said he was the victim of an attempted poisoning through a letter addressed to him and opened by an aide, who became sick.

The announcement confirmed reports circulating for more than a day that someone had tried to poison Mr Saied.

His office said a letter received on Monday from an unknown sender went to the desk of his top aide, Nadia Akacha.

“On opening it, she found no written document but her health quickly deteriorated,” the office said.

“She suddenly felt weak, nearly lost her vision and got a migraine headache.”

Another official in the room felt slightly sick, it said.

Ms Akacha was admitted to Tunisia’s military hospital and the letter was sent for analysis by a special service of the Interior Ministry, the office said.

The spokesman for the Tunis Prosecutor’s office, Mohsen Dali, said a special team was investigating.

The president’s office said a decision had been made not to publish the information on the day of the incident “to avoid spreading panic”.

It said Mr Saied was not affected by the letter and was in good health.

Mr Saied, a former law professor and political outsider, was elected to the presidency in 2019.