Mohamed Ben Amor Mansouri, a Tunisian from the border town of Ben Guerdane, was killed yesterday morning along the frontier between Libya and Tunisia by an unknown group of armed Libyans, said a source within the communications office of the Tunisian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
According to a source in the local delegation of Ben Guerdane, Mansouri was accompanied by another individual, who was shot in the legs and then transported to Zitouna clinic in the southeastern coastal city of Zarzis.
Mosbah, Mansouri’s cousin, stated to Tunisian radio Mosaique FM that he was with Mansouri during the incident and that “Libyan military forces shot on [them], took the car [they] were driving in, and left [him] behind wounded until someone came to help.”
In a statement to state news agency TAP, Foreign Affairs Minister Rafik Abdessalem, who visited yesterday the governorate of Medenine where Ben Guerdane is located, explained that the victim had been on his way to get food supplies for his herd of camels when the occupants of three Libyan cars opened fire on his vehicle.
“This incident is painful and unacceptable and jeopardizes Tunisia’s territorial security,” said Abdessalem.
According to the minister, all relevant information will be reviewed and contact established with Libyan authorities to coordinate and open an investigation.
“Even though we are trying to protect our country, we are working not to harm Tunisian-Libyan relations,” reassured Abdessalem.
The death of Mansouri comes in the midst of repeated protests in Ben Guerdane due to disruptions in the flow of goods and people across the Ras Jedir border crossing for more than two weeks. The local National Guard station was burned down on January 10, hours after a general strike in protest of the border post’s closure was led by the local labor union.
As a result of a disagreement whether or not to impose a customs tax on Tunisian traders, Libyan authorities have not granted Tunisians the right to transport merchandise from Libya, Governor of Medenine Hamadi Mayara told TAP. The interruptions in the flow of goods across the border crossing has hurt bilateral trade relations, he added.