Thousands of Libyans are fleeing from violence in the country and crossing into neighbouring Tunisia. Reports on Tunisia’s Tataouine radio station claim that the increase in armed clashes between government forces and groups loyal to the late Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi have forced thousands of Libyans to head for safety.
The radio quoted Tunisian security sources as saying that nearly three thousand Libyans are crossing the border daily; given the number of vehicles waiting on the Libyan side of the border, they said, this figure is likely to increase. Libyans report a wait of nearly two days to get through the border post. The exodus, said Tataouine, resembles that which took place after the Libyan Revolution in February 2011 which toppled the Gaddafi regime.
Reports suggested earlier that a few Libyan provinces have fallen under the control of Gaddafi supporters, prompting the government of Prime Minister Ali Zidan to declare a state of emergency. A number of ministers have already resigned from the government.
Tunisia’s interim government fears the cross-border implications of the deteriorating security situation in Libya. Interim President Moncef Marzouki is reported to have contacted Mr Zidan to affirm Tunisia’s support for him and his country. A similar message was conveyed by Foreign Minister Osman Jernda on Tuesday to his Libyan counterpart, Ahmed Abdel Aziz.