Tunisia has completed a 200-kilometer barrier along its frontier with Libya to try to keep out militants, and will soon install electronic monitoring systems, Defense Minister Farhat Hachani said on Saturday. Libya's chaos since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 has allowed DAESH to gain a foothold there, and officials say militants who carried out two major attacks in Tunisia last year had trained in militants camps in Libya. Libya has suffered from a chronic absence of security with various actors emerging. The powerlessness of the central government has led many people to take up arms against the government. State security forces have also failed to protect the government, leaving the country unprotected and open to heavy clashes between rival militias trying to gain authority over the government and the country. Peace and political stability is no closer to being achieved as no rival militia has been strong enough to put an end to the ongoing war.
Troops have raised an earth wall and dug trenches 2 km (1.2 miles) from the Libyan border, and European and American military trainers will soon train Tunisian forces to improve electronic surveillance with cameras and radar, Hachani told reporters on a visit to the border. "Today we finished closing it off, and this will help us protect our border, and stop the threat," he said. Security forces said the defenses had already helped to reduce smuggling.
DAESH controls the Libyan city of Sirte and has attacked key oil installations as it expands beyond its heartland in Iraq and Syria. More than 3,000 Tunisians have left to fight for DAESH and other militant groups in Syria and Iraq, but Hachani said many had now returned to North Africa to join the group in Libya.
Tunisia has largely distanced itself from the religious and sectarian chaos of the region that affected Yemen, Libya, Iraq and Syria. Also, the country has not shared the same fate with Egypt where the army ousted the first democratically elected president, Mohammed Morsi. Despite the tension near the Libyan border due to the al-Qaida-inspired Salafi militants and assassination of prominent opposition figures last year, the country has remained on the route of democracy. Tunisia also appeared as the only Arab country where power is shared among Islamists and seculars after the ruling Ennahda party accepted allying with seculars through adopting an unprecedented constitution last year. Therefore, political scientists and regional experts have been favoring Tunisia as a role-model for other Arab countries who have dragged into chaos either under dictatorial rules or under the influence of extremist groups. But last year's two major attacks, on a museum in Tunis and a beach hotel in Sousse, dealt heavy blows to its tourist industry, a mainstay of the economy.