In spite of a previous announcement, the Ras Jadir border crossing between Tunisia and Libya did not reopen today. Libyan authorities are implementing new procedures at the border crossing, and the Tunisian customs service continues to face unresolved problems.
The Libyan government has announced that new equipment will be provided throughout the week. Computers and scanners will be installed in order to regulate the process of crossing between Tunisia and Libya. New laws will also be implemented.
Ahmed Sadam, a driver in the Ras Jadir region, expressed his satisfaction with the news stating, “We need these reforms to facilitate our jobs and make passing through the border faster. Before we used to wait for hours before crossing.” He also described the border area as relatively “empty” since the crossing was shut down. Consequently, his job was recently suspended due to the dependence of his position on an open border.
Two days ago, a violent incident occurred at the border crossing involving a group of Tunisian smugglers who set an office at the customer service center on fire.
According to Sadam, a group of car-smugglers wanted to pay a customs employee a bribe to receive approval for their illegal cars to cross the border. The customs employee got very upset and left his office with the approval stamp - which allows buyers to bring cars over the border. The angry Tunisian smugglers immediately set his office on fire and chaos erupted in the area. An ongoing investigation is being conducted to determine the identity of the individuals responsible for setting the office on fire.
According to TAP, Tunisian officials asserted that the reopening of the borders will not happen this Thursday as expected.