Sudan not closing Libya border to stop smugglers says Khartoum FM
There was confusion this evening after Sudan’s foreign minister Ibrahim Ghandour denied the country’s borders with Libya and Chad were to be sealed.
This contradicted reports that Sudan’s second vice-president Hassabu Mohamed Abdalrahman said yesterday that the borders would be closed to stop the smuggling of weapons and vehicles.
Abdalrahman was quoted as saying the move was to counter murderous criminal networks that were bringing drugs, arms, money and stolen cars, particularly sports utility vehicles (SUV) into his country.
Sudan’s frontier with Libya is a relatively short 383 kilometres while with Chad it is 1,360 km. The border terrain is difficult and patrolling is likely to require considerable resources.
The frontier has always been porous with Tebu tribesmen in particular working with each other from either side.
In 2012 the Zeidan government established a joint border patrol force with Sudan, in which Libyan and Sudanese troops would cooperate. The Libyan command post was set up in Kufra. However, it was never clear how real the force’s patrolling efforts were beyond the odd inconclusive shot-out with smugglers.
Libya pulled out of the arrangement in 2015. The move was preceded by a row between Tripoli and Khartoum after an arms-laden Sudanese transport plane was seized at Kufra airport in 2014.
The Libyan joint force commander in Kufra, Colonel Suleiman Hamed Hassan, insisted that the weapons were for his men but the government in Tripoli said they were destined for Libya Dawn militias in Misrata. The Sudanese military attaché was expelled.