Armed groups clash at key Libya border post

Hindustani78

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Armed groups clash at key Libya border post
AFP | Published — Saturday 6 January 2018
http://www.arabnews.com/node/1219936/middle-east


TRIPOLI: Armed groups clashed Friday in western Libya, forcing the closure of a key border crossing with Tunisia, an official and a military commander said.

The clashes took place near the Ras Jedir border post, the main crossing between western Libya and southeastern Tunisia.

The crossing has been controlled by militias from the western port city of Zuwara since the fall of longtime dictator Muammar Qaddafi in 2011 in a NATO-backed revolt.

On Friday, a force set up by the country’s UN-backed unity government to stabilize Libya’s west attacked in a bid to seize the crossing, said an official from Zuwara who asked to remain anonymous.

The unity government force’s commander Osama Jouili, who served as Libya’s defense minister after Qaddafi’s fall, confirmed the offensive had taken place Friday.

Speaking to Libya’s 218TV, he argued his forces had a mandate from the unity government to secure the region, but did not specify whether the operation was coordinated with authorities in Tripoli or not. The border post was closed temporarily to “ensure the safety of travelers,” he said.

Libya has been wracked by violence since Qaddafi was toppled and killed in 2011.

The unity government has struggled to impose its rule in a country where hundreds of militias hold sway.
Successive transitional authorities have failed to create regular police and army forces capable of restoring order in Libya.

The western border region is highly dependent on cross-border trade, both legal and illegal.

The Zuwara forces who controlled the border post also nominally support the unity government.

They have been accused of involvement in smuggling a vast network smuggling contraband and fuel to Tunisia and Malta.

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Ras Ajdir crossing is a main land terminal between Libya and Tunisia


TRIPOLI
http://aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/libya-tunisia-crossing-resumes-work-after-clashes/1024002

Work was resumed at the Ras Ajdir border crossing between Libya and Tunisia on Saturday, one day after deadly clashes left two people dead.

Two Libyans were killed on Friday in clashes between armed groups loyal to Libya’s UN-backed unity government and Libyan border officials in the town of Ras Ajdir on the Tunisian border.

“Work on both directions at the terminal is back to normal,” Hafez bin Sassi, the municipal chief of Libya’s western Zuwara city, told Anadolu Agency.

He said presidential guards and allied forces have repelled the attackers.

“The crossing is now under the control of the interior ministry of the unity government,” he said.

Since 2011, when Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was ousted and killed in a bloody uprising, rival groups have fought for control of the strategic Ras Ajdir crossing, a main land terminal between Libya and Tunisia.
 
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