By Houda Mzioudet.
Tripoli, 22 October 2013:
The Ministry of Defence has denied reports that the Algerian authorities are refusing to cooperate with . . .[restrict]Libyan border security officials. Reports that “Libyan militias have taken control of the border” and that the Algerian authorities had notified Libya of the decision were “untrue”, the Defence Ministry’s spokesman, Abdurrazag Shebahi, told the Libya Herald.
The Chinese News Agency, Xinxua, had reported that guards on the 1,000-kilometre long border between Algeria and Libya were in fact “militias from Tuareg tribes and Zintan”.
The border forces “depend on the Ministry of Defence, including those from Libya Shield,” Shebahi insisted.
Last month, this paper reported from the southern frontier area that “basically, Libya’s southern border is controlled from Algeria border to Western Niger border by Tuaregs and from Niger Eastern border to a part of the Sudanese border, by Tebus.” Reports that the Tuareg also patrol much of the Algerian border have been widespread.
According to Xinxua agency, Algeria has recently mobilised 20,000 men to carry out search operations to hunt down terrorist groups at the Algerian-Tunisian- Libyan border and prevent the infiltration of smugglers.
In January this year, at their Ghadames summit, Ali Zeidan and the prime ministers of Algeria and Tunisia agreed on a major upgrade of cross-border security, cracking down on the smuggling of people, drugs and arms and on terrorism.
Because of concerns about continuing cross border incursions by smugglers and terrorists, Libya and Algeria decided at the beginning of August to activate the Joint Commission agreed last year. Security is a major aspect of its anticipated work,
At the end of the month, Tunisia made the area next to its 460-kilometre border with Libya a restricted zone in a bid to stop smugglers and terrorists. [/restrict]