Clashes against fuel smugglers erupt off Zawiya

Clashes against fuel smugglers erupt off Zawiya

August 11, 2018 - 20:53
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Written By: SafaAlharathy

The Libyan Oil and Gas Crisis Committee announced Saturday the outbreak of clashes between the Zawiya Refinery Coast Guards and the fuel smuggling gangs in the Libyan territorial waters.

On its Facebook page, the committee clarified that the clashes took place within the Libyan territorial waters, confirming the escape of a number of smugglers and the arrest of a Tunisian boat 20 miles north of Abu Kammash area.

The boat, which included four crewmembers of Tunisian nationality, was taken to the Coast Guard point of Zawiya Refinery, according to the Oil and Gas Crisis Committee.

On the other hand, the Libyan navy media office has stated on its Facebook page earlier today that the seized Tunisian boat is a fishing trawler and its crew were conducting illegal fishing in Libyan territorial waters.

In another statement, the Committee called on the National Oil Corporation, the House of Representatives and the High Council of State to determine their position about fuel smuggling, describing the recent operations carried out by the Air and Naval Forces to prevent fuel smuggling as "the historical saga of the security services".

The Libyan-Tunisian border has been undergoing security and military operations on a large scale to prevent and combat smuggling.

The Libyan and Tunisian authorities closed the Wazan Dehiba crossing border in front of traffic movement, except for humanitarian cases and ambulances because of the protest of the Tunisian people living in the border area.

Ras Ajdir border has been closed for weeks from both sides, due to protests in Tunisian cities, after the crackdown carried out by Libyan authorities on smuggling operations.

The cities of southern Tunisia have been suffering from a stifling fuel crisis for days, in what observers saw as a direct result of stopping the smuggling of fuel from Libya to Tunisia, which the Libyan Fuel and Gas Crisis Committee estimated to be 40% of the consumption of the Tunisian fuel market.