The Tunisian government is reported to have closed the border Ras Jedir border crossing to Libya on Friday following armed clashes and . . .[restrict]a tit-for-tat seizure of border guards by both sides.
According to Libyan sources, the row started on Thursday after the Tunisians seized two Libyan border guards. When negotiations failed to release them, Libyan militiamen seized a Tunisian border guard, named by the local radio station, Radio Tataouine, as Hamza Kseksi. However, according to Tunisians, the two men they had arrested were brigade members angry over the lack of salary payments and who were causing trouble on the Tunisian side of the border. The two men’s colleagues then seized Kseksi in retaliation. He was later released in exchange for the two Libyans.
The crossing at Ras Jedir has been closed before by the Tunisians following clashes and concerns about security there. In December, it was closed after a group of armed Libyans tried to cross into Tunisia and reportedly threatened Tunisian frontier guards.
Tunisia says the Ras Jedir crossing will be open to Tunisians returning from Libya. [/restrict]