Algeria and Tunisia team up to tackle smuggling and trafficking

Algeria and Tunisia team up to tackle smuggling and trafficking

Algeria and Tunisia have joined forces to crack down on smuggling and trafficking, according to Asharq Al-Awsat and agencies.

The first of the joint force meetings resulted in bilateral commitments to securing the shared border areas to combat illegal migration and smuggling.

Algerian Minister, Rahim Merad emphasised that collaboration with the Tunisian authorities would be “fruitful cooperation on all levels.”

Algeria is most concerned about the large quantities of subsidised gasoline that are smuggled into Tunisia where gasoline is three times cheaper.

The most popular “contraband” to enter Tunisia from Algeria besides gasoline includes “livestock (especially sheep), auto parts…cosmetics, yoghurt, powdered milk, and potatoes.”

Merad revealed that the governments have launched plans for development projects in the border region. He also emphasised the need to amplify conditions for travellers at the nine borders crossings that are often places of active trading.

READ: Niger’s military regime scraps smuggling law

However, the Carnegie Middle East Centre warned against strict anti-smuggling tactics as it could further isolate the borderland communities, leading smugglers to potentially “fall prey to the enticements of jihadis…and take up work transporting them and their weapons back and forth across the border.”

The Centre’s 2020 study reveals that gasoline smugglers can make between $150 – $300 per day, which accounts for 75% of economic activity in the border region. It also stresses that smuggling acts as a “safety valve that relives some of the economic pressure that is felt by Algeria’s neglected eastern provinces.”

Asharq Al-Awsat/Xinhua


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