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Libyan chief of Staff regrets death of Tunisian fisherman.

TUNIS (TAP) - Libyan chief of Staff voiced regret at "the death of Ammar Labyadh, the captain of a Tunisian fishing boat, last Wednesday off the Zouara coasts, killed by a Libyan coast guard patrol vessel, and offered condolences to the Tunisian people, Government and the victim's family."

The Libyan chief of Staff said the incident was caused by the special circumstances prevailing in Tunisia and Libya after their revolutions.

In a communique dated Thursday, June 28, a copy of which was sent to TAP news agency on Saturday, the Libyan chief of Staff points out "that Libya and Tunisia are going through particular conditions, notably as a result of the surge of such phenomena like weapons smuggling and drug trafficking," adding that "Tunisia and Libya share the same security concern."

According to the Libyan chief of Staff's version of the incident, the Tunisian fishing boat, which was seized on Wednesday, June 27, 2012, "did not post any identifying flag" and the Libyan coast guard frigate raided it within the Libyan territorial waters, some 20 km off Zouara, and after an hour-and-a-half hunt and several warning shots.

In the face of this refusal to comply, adds the Libyan chief of Staff's communique, the Libyan patrol vessel was compelled to open fire on the fishing boat, injuring seriously her captain, who later died in a Tripoli medical centre.

"Identity of the boat was revealed only after the incident," the communique reads.

"Yacine," the Tunisian fishing boat, was later released, as well as her crew at 05:00 p.m. on June 28, adds the Libyan communique.

Some of the sailors, native of the Zarzis region, told TAP news agency, last Wednesday, that the Tunisian boat's captain "did not abide by the Libyan coast guards' orders to stop, thus compelling the latter to fire on the boat."

Besides, a Tunisian security source confirmed the Libyan coast guards' assertion that the Tunisian boat was fishing in Libyan territorial waters.

Tap 2012

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Publication:Agency Tunis Afrique Press
Geographic Code:6TUNI
Date:Jun 30, 2012
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