By Syrine Kallel.
Tunis, 6 September 2017:
A row has broken out in Tunisia over the decision by the country’s rural transport company to use four Libyan buses, complete with drivers, to take passengers from Tatouine to Tunis at the end of the Eid holiday on Sunday. Tunisians have complained that their country has sufficient buses and drivers without needing to resort to hiring them from Libya.
The row started with a post on Facebook on Sunday showing the buses en route, with Tunisians asking why they had been hired.
The National Company for Rural Transport’s Youssef Mzigh has said that the use of the buses was fully in accordance with Tunisian law; not only were there agreements between Maghreb states permitting this, there was nothing in Tunisian law preventing it.
According to another official from the transport company, there had not been enough Tunisia buses and drivers at the time. Those from Libya had been available and had been licensed for the job by the transport authorities.
However, expressing surprise at the use of Libyan buses, the head of the bus station in Tataouine, Miloud Abdul Hanin, has insisted that there were sufficient Tunisian ones available after the Eid holiday.
He had known nothing about the decision until afterwards, he said, complaining at the use of the buses and their Libyan drivers. The first thing passengers had known about it, he added, was when they borded the buses.