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Tunsia Libya Fence

Tunisia has completed a 200km barrier along its frontier with Libya to try to keep out militants, and will soon install electronic monitoring systems, Defence Minister Farhat Hachani said on 06 February 2016. The barrier is made of sand banks and water trenches, which made the border impassable by vehicles. Troops raised an earth wall and dug trenches 2km from the Libyan border, and European and American military trainers would train Tunisian forces to improve electronic surveillance with cameras and radar. Horchani further stated that the second phase of the barrier project would include the installation of electronic devices with assistance from the US and Germany. Farhat Horchani stated that the construction of berms and water-filled trenches marked "an important day" for the North African nation in its continuing struggle against "terrorism."

Seifeddine Rezgui, the Tunisian national who opened fire at a beach resort in late June 2015, killing 38 tourists, had crossed the border to receive training in Libya.T he Tunisians behind the Bardo museum attack in March 2015, in which 21 people were killed in the capital Tunis, had also trained in Libya.

Tunisia became the latest to invest in a border barrier after dozens of foreign tourists were killed in two attacks by Islamist militants trained in neighbouring Libya and armed by smugglers. The fence and watch towers ordered by Prime Minister Habib Essid would intialy stretch 160 kilometres inland from the coast along the most vulnerable stretch of the shared frontier.

Tunisia Prime Minister Habib Essid announced plans 08 Juy 2015 to build a wall along part of its eastern border with Libya in a bid to contain the inflow of jihadist militants. The wall will stretch 160 kilometers from the coast inland, covering about a third of Tunisias 460-kilometer border with its eastern neighbor, Essid told state TV.

"Any possible attack against the fence which is being constructed on the Tunisian-Libyan border could have a military response," said President Beji Caid Essebsi in an interview given 16 July 2015 to the private TV channel "Attasia." Caid Essebsi pointed out that this security fence is being constructed on the Tunisian territory about 8 kilometers from the joint borders with Libya. "Only smugglers will be frustrated by this fence," he underlined, specifying that in case of attack, "Tunisia will respond militarily."

The security fence was expected to be completed by the end of 2015, he added. The Tunisian army would build the wall, which would have surveillance centres at certain points along the fence, said Essid. The announcement came weeks after a gunman, who is believed to have trained in Libya, opened fire on a Tunisian beach resort, killing 38 people. Tunisia declared a state of emergency shortly after the June 26 attack in Sousse.

Four years after Tunisia led the way in ushering the 2011 uprisings, the tiny North African country had evaded some of the worst political instability that has gripped other Arab nations. But the collapse of security in neighboring Libya turned into the gravest threat confronting Tunisia today. In March 2015, gunmen attacked the National Bardo Museum in Tunis, killing 22 people, most of them tourists.

Addressing parliament on 08 July 2015, Essid said he believed plots aimed at massive deaths and the destruction of the country's economy are in the works, and justify the current state of emergency. But balancing tough security with new-found freedoms may come with a price, and rights campaigners worry a crackdown is the slippery slope to oppression that may feed militant ranks in a country where many youth already feel alienated.

The targeting of the countrys vital tourism industry threatened Tunisias economy as well as its security. With an overwhelmingly young population, and an official unemployment rate of 15 percent, Tunisia was the biggest source of foreign jihadists in the Iraq-Syria conflict. Neighboring Libya provided a haven for Tunisian jihadists with sleeper cells infiltrating back across the Libya-Tunisia border.

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Page last modified: 11-02-2016 19:52:11 ZULU