Tunisia detains French and European armed experts trying to cross border from Libya
Tunisian authorities have detained 24 “armed Europeans” who recently crossed into the country from Libya, according to local officials.
“An armed group consisting of 13 French nationals attempted to cross the border in 4×4 vehicles at the Ras Jedir crossing on Sunday,” Interior Minister Abdelkarim Zbidi told reporters on Tuesday.
According to Zbidi, members of the group had initially refused to surrender their weapons but were eventually persuaded to do so by the local authorities.
In a separate incident, the minister added, 11 people of different European nationalities — holding diplomatic passports — had recently tried to enter Tunisian waters from Libya in two rubber life rafts.
“The Tunisian navy confiscated their weapons and handed them over to the National Guard,” Zbidi said, without saying when exactly the incident had occurred.
In a Monday statement, the French embassy in Tunis said the French nationals were members of a security detail attached to the French embassy in Libya.
But according to local media reports, the visitors had come from the Libyan city of Gharyan where they had been advising forces led by Khalifa Haftar in his attack on Tripoli.