By Libya Herald staff.
Benghazi, 1 October 2014:
Egypt today closed the Sollum-Musaid border crossing to Egyptian trucks travelling to Libya. It will . . .[restrict]remain closed until 7 October. The reason, according to the Egyptian Director of Security at Mersa Matruh, Major-General Alanani Hamouda, is because of the Eid holiday and concerns about the number of trucks heading to Libya – the suggestion being that there are going to be too many for the reduced level of customs staff and border guards during the holiday period.
However, concerns about the safety of Egyptian truck drivers are believed to be the real reason. According to the Egyptian authorities, 150 Egyptian drivers and 75 trucks have been detained in Libya recently, mostly in and around Ajdabiya but also west of Tobruk.
The Egyptian Foreign Ministry, which is reported to have been trying to negotiate their release, has on several occasions recently warned drivers of the dangers of travelling westwards beyond Tobruk.
It is unclear if the 150 were seized by the same people, at the same time or for the same reasons. Indeed, it is unclear how many were seized.
Last week it was reported that militants in Ajdabiya had detained up to 70 lorries and their drivers in an effort to force the Egyptian government to release a local man, Mohamed Salama, said to have been charged with smuggling arms into Egypt. However, the Egyptian news agency MENA reports that it was told by a member of Ajdabiya Municipal Council that only 30 drivers had been detained.
Another report claimed that Egyptian drivers had been seized on the desert road between Tobruk and Ajdabiya by protestors blockading the nearby Abu Tifl oilfield and demanding they be given jobs there. It is said, however, that they were released after mediation by local elders. [/restrict]