By Ajnadin Mustafa.
Tripoli, 26 December 2015:
The Ras Jedir border crossing is open again after a Zuwara-based militia abandoned the LD1,000 entry . . .[restrict]tax that it had imposed unilaterally on all Tunisian vehicles entering Libya.
The tax had to be paid in hard currency exchanged on the Libyan side of the border at the unfavourable official exchange rate. There was apparently no authorisation for the measure from the Libya Dawn administration in Tripoli. It is widely assumed that the money gathered was kept by the Al-Gaeeb battalion at the border post.
The impost caused such fury in Tunisian border towns that the road was blocked at the key intersection at Ras Guerdane, 20 kilometres from the border. Earlier, angry locals had tried to storm the border post and been driven back by tear gas fired by Tunisian police.
All traffic in both directions has been stopped since mid-December. The border had only just reopened after being closed by the Tunisians for 15 days in the wake of the Tunis suicide bombing of a bus carrying members of the presidential guard.
The Ras Jedir frontier post is the main crossing point and key for the supply of Tunisian agricultural produce and well as the flow of Tunisian workers. In the other direction many Libyans are travelling to Tunisia for medical treatment.
The difficulties were compounded at the start of this month when Tunisia stopped all flights from Tripoli to Tunis, leaving only Sfax airport open. [/restrict]