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UN Reports Higher Death Toll from Tunisia Unrest


Young people gather around candles as they begin three days of mourning Friday to mourn dozens who died in the protests that drove their autocratic leader from power, in Tunis, January 22, 2011

Young people gather around candles as they begin three days of mourning Friday to mourn dozens who died in the protests that drove their autocratic leader from power, in Tunis, January 22, 2011

A United Nations team in Tunisia says at least 219 people were killed in the January revolt that led to the ouster of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

The head of the team, Bakr N'Diaye, said Tuesday the death toll includes 72 people who died in prison riots.

The official commented at the end of a week-long mission in the country organized by the office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Earlier, the Tunisian government reported a death toll of 72, although opposition groups had insisted the toll was higher.

Last Thursday, Tunisia's interim government, led by Prime Minister Mohammed Ghannouchi, announced a Cabinet reshuffle that removed key figures that were associated with former President Ben Ali's administration.

Demonstrators have been calling for the removal of all high-level officials with links to the ousted president.

Separately, the French news agency (AFP) says hundreds of people rallied Tuesday in the central town of Kasserine to urge authorities to quell the recent ransacking and looting of public buildings in the town.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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