Libya tries to secure its southern borders
Libyan army soldiers carry the coffin of one of two soldiers killed in action in the oasis town of Bani Walid during a memorial service at Mitiga Airport, in Tripoli, on Sunday. (AFP PHOTO/MAHMUD TURKIA)
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Libya’s parliament ordered the temporary closure of southern borders and declared seven southern regions restricted military areas on Sunday, state media reported.
According to a report by the BBC, parliament spokesman, Omar Humidan, said the move was aimed at halting the flow of illegal immigrants and goods through Southern regions.
According to a decree carried by the official LANA news agency, the National Assembly ordered, on Sunday, the “"temporary closure of the land borders with Chad, Niger, Sudan and Algeria pending new regulations” on the circulation of people and goods.
The decree also declares the provinces of Ghadames, Ghat, Obari, Al-Shati, Sebha, Murzuq and Kufra, “closed military zones to be ruled under emergency law."
It gives the defense ministry powers to appoint a military governor with the authority to detain and deport illegal immigrants.
One member of parliament, Suad Ganur, told AFP news agency that the decision to close borders and declare martial law in the south follows an "upsurge in violence and drug trafficking, and the presence of armed groups that act with complete impunity".
The move also comes after the European Union's proposal to help train Libyans to secure their southern borders and prevent the trafficking of arms from the country.
Elsewhere Libya is still struggling to enforce law.
Also on Sunday, in the eastern city of Benghazi, gunmen reportedly killed four policemen in an attack against a police station. At least two members of the Libyan security forces were reported killed in a separate incident in the town of Bani Walid.