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Libya-Tunisia main border crossing closed to combat smuggling

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The closure of the main border crossing between Libya and Tunisia, decided on Tuesday, will be extended until the "trafficking" that passes through with the complicity of armed groups is brought to an end, announced a Libyan minister.

The Ras Jedir border crossing © LUN

 

The closure of the main border crossing between Libya and Tunisia, decided on Tuesday, will be extended until the "trafficking" that passes through with the complicity of armed groups is brought to an end, announced a Libyan minister.

"We need to secure the borders and combat crime and trafficking," emphasized the Interior Minister of the Tripoli government, Imad Trabelsi, during a press conference late Thursday night. Authorities will not back down "against drug traffickers and smugglers," he added.

The Ras Jedir border crossing, in northwest Libya, about 170 kilometers west of Tripoli, considered by Mr. Trabelsi as "one of the largest points of smuggling and crime in the world," has been closed since Tuesday.

Mr. Trabelsi stated that the border crossing had become in recent years a hub for smuggling, especially of gasoline, to Tunisia, and drugs in the form of amphetamines in the opposite direction.

The "Law Enforcement Force," attached to his ministry, dispatched on Monday to Ras Jedir to stop smugglers and ensure the safety of travelers, was targeted by "outlawed armed groups." It had to withdraw to "preserve lives and property," he explained.

Traffickers, mainly from the Libyan city of Zuwara, have controlled the border crossing for years, considering it their domain and enabling them to engage in highly profitable informal trade.

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