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Tunisia Arrests Smugglers on Libyan Border | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A border crossing between Tunisia and Libya. (AFP)

Tunisia – Tunisian Security Forces apprehended on Monday 11 smugglers and confiscated dozens of vehicles after it engaged in clashes with the suspects south of the country.

On dawn of Monday, a Tunisian military patrol exchanged fire with a group of vehicles at the border buffer zone with Libya, according to the Tunisian Ministry of Defense.

The patrol arrested 11 Tunisians, while the rest fled into Libyan territory. Security forces also seized 35 Tunisian smuggling trucks, in addition to a Libyan fuel tanker, which crossed the Tunisian-Libyan border.

The ministry had previously warned it will respond to any weapons fired at its troops during any smuggling and illegal crossings operations into the country.

It reiterated that military units are ordered to act within their means and as authorized by law against any target that does not comply with orders to stop.

Tunisia has completed a 200-km barrier along its frontier with Libya to try to keep out militants and put an end to the smuggling operations. Troops have raised an earth wall and dug trenches 2 km from the Libyan border.

Since 2011, the country had been under a delicate economic situation amid security risks due to the war on terrorism and drop in tourism revenues.