The situation in the main Tunisian-Libyan border crossing at Ras Jedir is now said to be calm after angry clashes between . . .[restrict]Libyans and Tunisians.
On Thursday, Tunisian protestors on the road leading the border had thrown stones at Libyan vehicles following reports on Wednesday day that an armed Libyan gang said to be involved in smuggling had been looting goods in Tunisia. (It is also suggested that Tunisian smugglers were among the protestors.)
According to Tunisian officials, Libya militiamen responded by crossing the border and seizing some truckloads of Tunisian goods heading for Libya. They then prevented them from crossing the border.
Reports spoke of the border being “totally paralysed in both directions.”
The Ras Jedir crossing has been the scene of numerous disturbances over the past four months and has been closed by the Tunisian authorities on several occasions.
Last month, in one incident, a Tunisian border guard was briefly seized and held by Libyan brigadesmen and in another, during an argument between brigadesmen, shots were fired onto the Tunisian side of the border.
The border post is manned by brigadesmen from Zuwara.
As a result of the disturbances the interim government has been under pressure from the Tunis to replace the militiamen with normal border guards.
Ten days ago, the Interior Ministry announced that it would take over all border crossings, as well as airports and seaports, within a fortnight.
So far, it has not happened.