Creating new perspectives since 2009

Libya evacuates migrants stranded on border with Tunisia

August 11, 2023 at 8:48 am

20 migrants from Eritrea and 4 from Ethiopia including women and children are being rescued from a fiberglass boat in distress by the Spanish NGO Open Arms, at the SAR Zone of Libya on August 02, 2023 [Valeria Ferraro – Anadolu Agency]

Libya evacuated irregular migrants stranded in the border area with Tunisia, the Libyan Ministry of Interior said yesterday. Meanwhile, its Tunisian counterpart said that the two countries agreed that each would receive a group of migrants.

For two weeks, African migrants have been suffering very difficult humanitarian conditions on the Tunisian-Libyan border after they were expelled from their homes following confrontations with Tunisians in the southern province of Sfax. Their deteriorating conditions have sparked local and international criticism from human rights groups.

The Libyan Interior Ministry said in a statement that there are no illegal immigrants in the border area between the two countries after the beginning of the implementation of the outcome of the visit of the Libyan Interior Minister designate, Emad Trabelsi, to Tunisia on Wednesday evening.

READ: UN: More than 700 Libya migrants returned home 

Patrols in charge of securing the border between both countries are carrying out their tasks with joint coordination, according to the statement.

In Tunisia, the Interior Ministry said instructions were issued to transfer migrants to “safe” shelters, following Libya.

The news comes just one week after a video circulated online of a Libyan border guard giving water to black African migrants who had been dumped in the middle of the desert by Tunisian authorities.

In July, hundreds of people from sub-Saharan African countries were forced from the coastal city of Sfax by Tunisian security forces, and left stranded in a desolate desert area, without food, water or shelter, according to human rights groups.

In February President Kais Saied made an inflammatory speech about black migrants in the country which led to violent mob attacks, landlords kicking them out of their homes and bosses kicking them out of their jobs overnight.

READ: 27 migrants found dead at Tunisia-Libya border