The humanitarian crisis at the Tunisia-Libya border has intensified in recent weeks, with the discovery of over 25 bodies in the no man’s land between the two countries, according to aid groups and Tunisian officials.
Hundreds of African migrants expelled from Tunisia have been stranded in the border area, facing dire conditions and lacking food, water and shelter. Most hail from sub-Saharan nations and were expelled following clashes in the Tunisian town of Sfax between migrants and locals after the death of a Tunisian youth.
“We cannot accept that Tunisia becomes a country of transit or settlement for sub-Saharan African migrants,” said Tunisian Interior Minister Kamel Al-Fakih in remarks to parliament on Wednesday. He stated that Tunisia would not allow the creation of migrant camps on its territory.
Rights organizations have condemned reported abuses of the migrants by Tunisian security personnel. The Libyan Red Crescent issued an urgent appeal for humanitarian action for those stuck at the frontier.
Last week, officials from both nations agreed on boosting security coordination along the shared border during a meeting between Tunisian President Kais Saied and Libyan Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh. They also vowed to unify their stance in engaging with the European Union on curbing irregular migration.
The escalating crisis highlights the profound challenges North African countries face with migration flows from sub-Saharan Africa. With Europe tightening borders, migrants often find themselves stranded in countries like Libya and Tunisia.