By Sami Zaptia.
Tripoli, 9 June:
Libya’s ambassador in Tunis, Jamal Jirnaz, confirmed yesterday that the number of Libyans in Tunisia had reached . . .[restrict]537,000 and that most of these are ‘runaways and wanted by justice’ in Libya.
In an interview by Al-Jazira Al-Hurra Al-Libiya reported by Libyan news agency WAL, ambassador Jirnaz also said that the Libyan embassy in Tunis was no longer able to monitor this large number of Libyans in Tunisia and that this issue needed to be looked into by specialist authorities.
He said that the Libyan embassy was in cooperation with the relevant Tunisian authorities in order to protect the nation and Libyan nationals on all levels.
He explained that his embassy was in constant touch with the Tunisian Ministry of Interior and other official local authorities regarding the the activities of certain Libyans in the Ben Guerdane, Djerba and Zarzis areas near the Libyan border.
These contacts were focussed on monitoring the movements of Libyan supporters of the old regime, he said, such as former officers in the Libyan army and members of the former external security service who were suspected of plotting against the 17 February Revolution.
Ambassador Jirnaz also pointed out that a number of these are the subject of arrest warrants issued by Libya, and that Libya had requested their handover from the Tunisian authorities under a 1961 agreement signed between the two countries on the exchange of those wanted by the law.
The border region is also at present heavily affected by smuggling in both directions.