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The United States is funding a multi-million project to erect an electronic surveillance system along the border between Libya and Tunisia. The US has now released the “first tranche of a contract” worth almost $25m, the US Embassy in Tunis announced.
“This contract is granted by the Defence Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) to the U.S. Department of Defence,” the embassy said in a press release. DTRA and DoD have contracted US consulting and engineering firm AECOM and construction group BTP to complete the project.
According to the contract, the companies will be tasked with setting up “an integrated monitoring system based on remote monitoring sensors and basic equipments for borders’ security.”
Electronic surveillance systems will be installed along the 250km security barrier, which consists of a system of sand walls, fences, trenches, and moats.
Construction of the security barrier was completed this February, after the project was launched following the June 2015 attack on the El Kantaoui beach resort in Sousse. Thirty-eight foreign tourists were slain by gunman Seifeddine Rezgui in the attack.
Tunisian authorities warned that the attack was an attempt by Islamic militants active in Libya to establish an ISIS offshoot in the north African country. Rezgui, along with the perpetrators of the March 2015 attack in Bardo, were all trained in Libya, authorities believe.
Some 3,000 to 6,000 Tunisians are suspected of leaving the country to join terrorist organisations. Half of them are believed to be in Libya.
The security fence will help secure Tunisia’s relatively porous border with its unstable neighbour, however no barrier was constructed along the southern border stretch, which crosses the military exclusion zone in Tunisia’s southern desert.