Wednesday, 11 May 2011
British Foreign Office in Libya-Tunisia border warning
The British Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) has advised Britons in Tunisia to stay away from the Libyan border, because of attacks on rebels by Colonel Mu'ammar Qadhafi's forces.
Britons are being advised to stay at least 40km (25miles) away from the border, according to the FCO website.
Mortars and shells from Libya have landed in Tunisia at the Dehiba border crossing, and the BBC reports that there has been fighting on Tunisian soil.
On Saturday 7th May, pro-government forces shelled rebel positions in the border town of Gzaya and some shells hit Tunisian territory, although no one was hurt.
Both sides have been fighting in the area for over a week, trying to gain control of the border, which would provide important supply lines.
Foreign office minister Alistair Burt said the actions of Qadhafi loyalists showed “wanton disregard" for international law.
"Firing into a neighbouring country is illegal, wholly wrong and must cease immediately. It is another example of the regime's utter lack of legitimacy,” he said.
Burt also praised the Tunisian government's 'moderate' response to the border violations, and its efforts to manage the effects of the Libyan conflict.
Tunisia has recently stepped up its border controls with Libya, searching for arms and drugs, the Middle East Online reported on 9th May.
A lack of customers in war-torn Libya has led drug traffickers to move their business into Tunisia.
Tunisian custom officials have been searching for drugs and small arms, both on persons and in commercial vehicles.
Over 200,000 people have crossed into Tunisia from Libya since January.
Sources: BBC News, FCO website, Middle East Online
For more information, please see the Menas Borders website, here.