Libyan rebels seize western border post

Libyan rebels seize western border post
# 22 April 2011 19:10 (UTC +04:00)
Baku – APA. A group of 105 officers and men loyal to the Gaddafi regime who gave themselves up to the Tunisian authorities on Thursday have crossed back into Libya, the official news agency Tunisie Afrique Presse reported on Friday, without giving further details, APA reports quoting “Financial Times”.
The group had crossed into Tunisia on Thursday after rebels seized control of a border crossing at Dehiba, in the mountainous Jebel El Gharbi region, military sources said. The rebels had first gained control of the small Libyan town of Wazzin, five kilometres from the border, before taking the crossing.
The caretaker government in Tunis has been watching developments along the Libyan border with concern, hoping to avoid any spillover from the conflict there as it struggles to restore stability following its own largely peaceful revolution.
During clashes in the border area earlier in the week, four mortar shells fired in Libya landed in Tunisian territory. It was the first such cross-border incident and prompted a protest from Tunisia’s foreign ministry to the Libyan authorities.
The Dehiba border post lies 140 kilometres south-west of the main Ras Ajdir crossing, where most refugees fleeing into Tunisia from Libya have arrived in recent weeks, and where camps have been set up to receive them with the help of international relief agencies.
Libya’s government has denied that the rebels captured the post, saying insurgents in the sparsely-populated region were "hiding in some caves" from where they launched attacks. But Reuters news agency reported that insurgents were still at the border crossing on Friday, displaying weaponry and equipment they said they had seized from government troops.
Increasing numbers of Libyans have been opting to cross over into Tunisian territory. At Dehiba, 437 Libyan cars and one bus carrying more than 2,700 Libyans crossed on Wednesday, TAP reported. Three defecting police officers were among 20 Libyans who had earlier arrived by boat on the southern Tunisian coast near Ras Ajdir, it said.
Meanwhile the Algerian newspaper Al Khabar reported on Friday that representatives of the Algerian military visited the Pentagon this week, at the invitation of the US authorities, to discuss possible logistical cooperation for Nato’s efforts in Libya, including facilities to evacuate casualties and landing rights for transport aircraft, should the conflict there escalate.
The newspaper said “senior sources” in the Algerian security apparatus regarded it as unlikely that Algeria would agree to any such cooperation along its border with Libya.
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