Tunisia's Defense Ministry says two soldiers were killed and three wounded in clashes with extremists near the Algerian border, days after Tunisian mediators won the Nobel Peace Prize for averting civil war.

The soldiers were conducting a sweep of the Mont Samama area after the kidnapping of a shepherd, said Lt. Col. Belhassen Oueslati.

The area is near Mt. Chaambi in western Tunisia, where dozens of security forces have died battling Islamic extremists.

The violence is a reminder of the fragility pf the peace in Tunisia celebrated by this year's Nobel. A quartet of mediators was awarded for bridging disputes between Islamist and opposition legislators. Tunisia remains the only country to have emerged from Arab Spring uprisings with a functioning democracy, but has seen deadly attacks on tourists this year.