106 Tunisians students landed in their home country on Tuesday. They were among the first North African nationals to safely leave Ukraine.
Airport embraces are often emotional. On Tuesday morning, tears were shed in the Tunis airport but they were tears of joy.
They marked the end of an ordeal for the first Tunisian students repatriated from Ukraine. They reunited with their families at the airport after days of anguish and fear caused by the Russian invasion.
"There were many difficulties on this long journey, Aymen Badri, a computer engineering student says. It is a war situation with exceptional conditions. We went through a real nightmare."
The joy of reunion was also on the parents' hearts. Hejer Boukabeba, the mother of a polytechnic student repatriated expressed her relief: "I am very happy because my son returned. I am also happy for those who were able to come back. We hope eveyrone's children will return."
Approximately 1,700 Tunisians live in Ukraine amongst whom 80% are students. The Tunisian repatriation operation wil proceed in the coming days according to the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
"We hope that by the end of the week the whole operation will be successfully completed, mister - Othman Jerandi said. We will then remain in contact with all Tunisians willing to return, in order to assist them in their trip to Tunisia and eliminate the stress and tension they are currently experiencing. There is a lot of information, counter-information and misinformation. So we have to deal with all that. It is a crisis."
The 106 Tunisian students who landed in the North African country were among the first African nationals to get back to their home from Ukraine. 17 Ghanaian students landed in Accra on Tuesday. Starting from Wednesday, Moroccan authorities are set to operate their first repatriation flights.
Other African countries like Algeria or Libya have instead set up plans for their nationals to be evacuated to Ukraine's neighboring countries.