By Ahmed Elumami.
Tripoli, 21 August 2013:
Nalut Local Council has protested angrily at the Ministry of Transport’s plans to create a third . . .[restrict]crossing on the Tunisian border at Mashhad Salih.
The current frontier posts are at Ras Jedir on the coast and Dehiba-Wazin further south. The new one would be half way between the two and could stimulate economic growth in the area.
The head of Nalut local council, Saleh Salem Warregh told the Libya Herald that he had called for an urgent meeting with the Transport Minister, Abdel-Qader Ahmed. He said that the local community had not been consulted by the ministry about the scheme.
There were, he said, security issues around the planned new frontier post, not least, he maintained, because it was in an area where Qaddafi supporters still moved freely.
He continued that he believed that neither the army command nor the defence ministry had been consulted on the security implications of the new link.
“I believe that the third crossing is a tribal problem,” he said, “and it is also a reward for ousted members of the former regime and a punishment for the revolutionaries”.
Warregh also criticised the likely high cost of building a new road to Mashhad Salih, which is roughly equidistant between the congested coastal frontier post at Ras Jedir and the Dehiba-Wazin crossing. He said that the money would be far better spent on upgrading and expanding the Ras Jedir frontier facilities.
Warregh also said that Libya’s border with Tunisia was relatively short and there was no necessity for a third crossing place.
Communal issues are seen to be at the heart of the opposition. Forces from Nalut, a Amazigh town, effectively control the Dehiba-Wazin crossing while those from Zuwara, another Amazigh town, have much the same role at the Ras Jedir crossing. It is being suggested that the Amazigh are worried that they would not control the planned third crossing. [/restrict]